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March of Dimes: Premature Births Down in Almost Every State


The March of Dimes has released its annual report card on premature birth, and the news is promising. Preterm birth rates improved in almost every state between 2006 and 2009, with several states improving by 10% or more. Three states (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama) and Puerto Rico received an F; 11 states and the District of Columbia earned a D; 19 states got a C, 16 states received a B; only Vermont earned an A. See how your state fared here. The United States currently has an overall preterm birth rate of 12.2 percent, down nearly 5 percent from the 2006 peak of 12.8 percent, but still graded a “C” since it’s higher than most developed nations.
Plus: FDA Approves Progesterone Injections to Prevent Premature Birth

“The three-year improvement in the U.S. preterm birth rate means that 40,000 more babies were given a healthy start in life and spared the risk of life-long health consequences of an early birth,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “It means that, nationwide, we saved at least $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs.” Pre-term birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early delivery often face serious health challenges, like cerebral palsy, lung problems and other disabilities.
Plus: March of Dimes Recommends No Non-Medical Inductions Before 39 Weeks

The drop is attributed to a combination of factors. The rise of the use of progesterone as an effective method for preventing pre-term labor has helped, as well as the March of Dimes campaign to eliminate non-medical inductions before 39 weeks, since studies have shown crucial organ development occurs in the last weeks of pregnancy. Some hospitals have even started refusing to perform elective c-sections.
Plus: Hospital Bans Elective C-Sections and Labor Inductions

When was your baby born? How is he or she doing today?