US Preemie Birth Rates Rise 2 Years in a Row

Nov 02, 2017, 00:14
US Preemie Birth Rates Rise 2 Years in a Row

Louisiana has received an "F" grade for the rate of babies born prematurely in the state, according to a new report by the March of Dimes.

In Virginia, 9.6 percent of births were premature.

There's a connection between premature births and infant deaths, and the state has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

The premature birth rate rose from 9.63 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016, and the number of preterm births increased by 8,000, according to the group's new report.

Babies born too early are more likely to die before their first birthday and to have lifelong disabilities and chronic health conditions.

The March of Dimes index of racial/ethnic disparity ("disparity index") in preterm birth provides a measure of the differences, or disparities, in preterm birth rates across racial/ethnic groups within a geographic area.

"The 2017 March of Dimes Report Card demonstrates that moms and babies in this country face a higher risk of preterm birth based on race and zip code", Stacey D Stewart, president, March of Dimes said. The state has a preterm birth rate of 12.6 percent and was among three other states and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico to receive the failing grade. "This is an unacceptable trend that requires immediate attention". However, data from the March of Dimes shows preterm birth rates in East Baton Rouge and Caddo Parishes are improving along with Orleans Parish.

"The March of Dimes is dedicated to giving every baby a fair chance for a healthy start in life, and our work is more vital than ever", Stewart said.

Although North Carolina received a "D", the grade for individual counties for which numbers were available varied. Broward got a C for its 10.3-percent rate, and Palm Beach also got a C with 9.9 percent.

Statewide and nationally, preterm birth has increased, according to the report. "Only by improving the broader social context for health will we be able to level the playing field for mothers and babies in every community".

13 states received a "B" grade for preterm birthrates between 8.2 and 9.2 percent.

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