Published: Thu, November 02, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

USA preterm births rise for second year in a row

USA preterm births rise for second year in a row

According to the 2017 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, Oklahoma's preterm birth rate is higher from a year ago.

The nation's rate of preterm birth also increased in 2016 after almost a decade of declines. The preterm birth rate among black women is 46 percent higher than the rate among all other women. The number of premature births is increasing in the Carolinas, according to results from a study by the March of Dimes.

Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems.

According to the organization, preterm birth rates worsened in 43 US states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C across all racial and ethnic groups.

More than 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year, putting them at greater risk of death before their first birthday.

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The March of Dimes said it would continue to work with Virginia on lowering the preterm rate and would emphasize research, education, advocacy and improving clinical practice. Greenville, Spartanburg and Charleston counties each received a D, with rates above 10 percent. The March of Dimes gives "A" grades to states that have a preterm birth rate of 8.1 percent or lower. "This is an unacceptable trend that requires immediate attention".

According to the report, African American women are 49 percent more likely to deliver preterm compared to white women and American Indian/Alaska Native women are 18 percent more likely to deliver preterm compared to white women. Hispanic women accounted for 9.1 percent of preterm births and Asian/Pacific Islander women accounted for 10.3 percent of preterm births in Louisiana.

And preterm birth is associated with more than $26 billion annually in avoidable medical and societal costs, according to the National Academy of Medicine. "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".

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that the state's infant mortality rate dipped by 1.4 percent in 2016 to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 births.

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