Preterm Birth Rate Drops

Preterm Birth Rate Drops

March of Dimes Hopes It's the Start of a Long-Term Trend in Infant Health


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Preterm Birth Rate Drops

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    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.,
March 18 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The nation’s preterm birth rate
declined slightly in 2007 – a finding that the March of Dimes hopes will prove
to be the start of a new trend in improved maternal and infant health.

 

    The preterm birth rate
declined for babies born at 34-36 weeks gestation (late preterm) and among
babies born to African American and white women.

 

    “We’re encouraged
by this drop in the preterm birth rate, and hope that the emphasis we’ve put on
the problem of late preterm birth is beginning to make a difference,” said
Jennifer L. Howse, Ph.D., president of the March of Dimes. “Through our
Prematurity Campaign, we can build on this success and begin to give more
babies a healthy start in life.”

 

    The rate of preterm
births (less than 37 weeks gestation) dropped to 12.7 percent from 12.8 percent
in 2006, a small but statistically significant decrease, according to
preliminary birth data for 2007 released by the National Center for Health
Statistics.

 

    (Editor’s note: A chart
showing one-year change in state preterm birth rates is below.)

 

    The preterm birth rate
has increased by 36 percent since the 1980s, and despite the decline in the
2007 preterm birth rate, the number of babies born too soon continues to top
more than 540,000 each year.

 

    Preterm birth is a
serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion
annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of
newborn death and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of
lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, mental retardation and
others. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon (34-36 weeks gestation, also
known as late preterm birth) have higher rates of death and disability than
full-term babies.

 

    The March of Dimes has
a four-point plan to help reduce the preterm birth rate in the United States,
which calls for:

    1. A voluntary review
of all cesarean-section births and inductions of labor that occur before 39
weeks gestation, to ensure they meet established American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines regarding medical necessity
of elective procedures.

    2. Expanded federal
support for prematurity-related research to uncover the causes of premature
birth, strategies for prevention, and improved care and outcomes for preterm
infants.

    3. Policymakers to
improve access to health coverage for women of childbearing age and to support
smoking cessation programs as part of maternity care.

    4. Businesses to create
workplaces that support maternal and infant health, such as providing private
areas to pump breast milk, access to flextime, and information about how to
have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

 

    The March of Dimes is
the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  With chapters nationwide and its premier
event, March for Babies(R), the March of Dimes works to improve the health of
babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For
the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.
For detailed national, state, and county perinatal data, visit marchofdimes.com/peristats

 

Rates of
Preterm Birth by State, Final 2006 and Preliminary 2007

 

                          

Percent of live births          
Percent 

                              

2006       2007               Change 

 

   
United States              12.8       12.7                 -1%

   
Alabama                    17.1       16.6                 -3%

   
Alaska                     11.2       10.4                 -7%

   
Arizona                    13.2       12.7                 -4% 

   
Arkansas                   13.7       13.9                  1%

   
California                 10.7       10.9                  2%

   
Colorado                   12.2       12.2                  0%

   
Connecticut                10.4       10.5               
  
1%

   
Delaware                   13.7       14.3                  4%

   
District of
Columbia       16.0       15.6                 -3%

   
Florida                    13.8       13.8                  0% 

   
Georgia                    14.1       13.6                 -4%

   
Hawaii                     12.1       12.4                  2%

   
Idaho                      11.6       10.5                 -9% 

   
Illinois                   13.3       13.1                 -2%  

   
Indiana                    13.2       12.9                 -2%

   
Iowa                       11.6       11.6                  0% 

   
Kansas                     11.8       11.5                 -3%

   
Kentucky                   15.1       15.2                  1%  

   
Louisiana                  16.4       16.5                  1% 

   
Maine                      11.1       10.6                 -5%

   
Maryland                   13.5       13.4                 -1%

   
Massachusetts              11.3       11.2           
     
-1%

   
Michigan                   12.5       12.2                 -2% 

   
Minnesota                  10.5       10.4                 -1% 

   
Mississippi                18.8       18.3                
-3%  

   
Missouri                   12.8       12.5                 -2%

   
Montana                    11.9       11.9                  0%

   
Nebraska                   12.5       11.9                 -5%

   
Nevada                     14.4       14.3                 -1%

   
New Hampshire              10.4        9.4                -10%

   
New Jersey                 12.9       12.7                 -2%

   
New Mexico                 14.1       12.8                 -9%

   
New York                   12.4       12.3                 -1%

   
North Carolina             13.6       13.3                
-2%

   
North Dakota               12.1       11.6                
-4%

   
Ohio                       13.3       13.2                 -1%

   
Oklahoma                   13.9       13.5                 -3%

 
  
Oregon                     10.3      
10.3                  0%

   
Pennsylvania               11.8       11.8                 
0%

   
Rhode Island               12.6       12.0                
-5%

   
South Carolina             15.4       15.5          
       
1%

   
South Dakota               12.7       12.6                
-1%

   
Tennessee                  14.8       14.2                 -4%

   
Texas                      13.7       13.6                 -1%

   
Utah                       11.5       10.9                 -5%

   
Vermont                     9.6        9.2                 -4%

   
Virginia                   12.0       12.1                  1%

   
Washington                 11.0       10.6                 -4%

   
West Virginia              14.0       13.9                
-1%

   
Wisconsin                  11.4       11.1                 -3%    

   
Wyoming                    12.8       12.7                 -1%      

 

    Preterm is less than 37
completed weeks of gestation.

 

    Percent change is
calculated based on one decimal and has been rounded to the nearest whole
number.

 

    Source: National Center
for Health Statistics, 2006 final and 2007 preliminary natality data.

 

    Prepared by March of
Dimes Perinatal Data Center, March 2009.

 

SOURCE  March of Dimes

 

Preterm Birth Rate Drops