Saving Newborn Babies - The Benefits of Interventions in Neonatal Care in Norway over More Than 40 Years

Health Econ. 2017 Mar;26(3):352-370. doi: 10.1002/hec.3314. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect that the introduction of new medical interventions at birth has had on mortality among newborn babies in Norway during the period 1967-2011. During this period, there has been a significant decline in mortality, in particular for low birth weight infants. We identified four interventions that together explained about 50% of the decline in early neonatal and infant mortality: ventilators, antenatal steroids, surfactant and insure. The analyses were performed on a large set of data, encompassing more than 1.6 million deliveries (Medical Birth Registry of Norway). The richness of the data allowed us to perform several robustness tests. Our study indicates that the introduction of new medical interventions has been a very important channel through which the decline in mortality among newborn babies occurred during the second half of the last century. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: antenatal steroids; births; infant mortality and neonatal mortality; medical interventions; surfactant; ventilators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Norway
  • Perinatal Death / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Ventilation


  • Steroids