South Dakota reported its lowest ever rate of infant deaths in 2016.

The state Department of Health says new data shows 12,270 births and 59 infant deaths in 2016 for a rate of 4.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. That’s a drop from 7.3 in 2015 and below the previous low of 5.5 in 2000.

First Lady Linda Daugaard, who chaired the 2011 Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality, said if the state continues to promote safe sleep guidelines for infants, help pregnant women stop smoking and get early prenatal care, it can support the encouraging trend.

South Dakota data shows babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday if their mothers smoke during pregnancy. The new data shows 13.6 percent of pregnant women smoked during pregnancy, down from 14 percent in 2015.

The data also showed 72.7 percent of pregnant women in South Dakota got prenatal care in the first trimester.

Read the department’s full release here or visit