Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

March of Dimes report card gives U.S. a C for its rate of premature births

The United States is slowly reducing its rate of premature births, bringing the rate to 11.7 percent in 2011, but the figure is still higher than public health advocates believe it should be.

The updated data come from the March of Dimes, which released its annual Premature Birth Report Card on Tuesday. It gave the United States a C in overall preterm birth rate reductions. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one out of eight babies is born prematurely in the United States each year.

In Florida, the rate is worse: 13 percent, a D grade on the March of Dimes scale. Still, the Florida rate has declined in each of the past three years.

In a report released earlier this year, the March of Dimes noted that the United States ranks 131st out of 184 countries — putting it close to countries such as Somalia, Thailand and Turkey.

According to its data, the U.S. preterm birth rate is now at the lowest rate in a decade. Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, said that for 30 years up to 2006, the U.S. preterm birth rate had been increasing.

The March of Dimes' goal is to bring the national preterm birth rate down to 9.6 percent by 2020. Four states earned A ratings on the report card: Vermont at 8.8 percent, Oregon at 9.1 percent, New Hampshire at 9.5 percent and Maine at 9.6 percent. The worst states on the report card included Louisiana at 15.6 percent and Mississippi at 16.9 percent. The rate in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was 17.6 percent.

Howse pointed to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine that noted that premature births cost the United States $26 billion a year. But she said this year's improved numbers could have "potential savings of roughly $3 billion in health care and economic costs to society." According to the data, approximately 64,000 fewer babies were born preterm in 2010, compared with the peak year in 2006.

From this year's report card, Howse said her group noted four evidence-based interventions that can contribute to lower premature birth rates: insuring soon-to-be moms, reducing the number of scheduled deliveries, investing in smoking cessation programs and investing in progesterone therapy that helps to delay early contractions.

The report card also notes that the rate of uninsured women of childbearing age increased to more than 21 percent in the past year — in Florida, the rate was 29.3 percent. Experts say uninsured women who are pregnant may forgo vital prenatal care during their pregnancy.

Howse said states that ensured better access to health care fared better on the report card.

"It means that women of child-bearing age have access to their physicians — that risks are detected earlier rather than later. I do believe we will start to see that kind of halo effect in our maternal and child health outcomes once the (Affordable Care Act) is fully implemented," she said.

March of Dimes report card gives U.S. a C for its rate of premature births 11/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No easy answer to the Dunedin parking question

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — Nothing has been more divisive in this city than the issue of paid parking.

    A server at Cafe Alfresco (background) claims Dunedin's new paid parking has cost him money. Dunedin began a paid parking last October. Nine months in, residents, business owners and city officials all share mixed feelings. In October, when the one-year program ends, the city will have until November to come up with another solution to its parking woes, or continue the paid parking program at the risk of angering locals.JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today

    Business

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.
  3. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  4. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea

    National

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  5. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press