The largest declines in premature birth occurred among babies born at 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, but the improvement was across the board. Every racial and ethnic group benefitted, and there were fewer preterm babies born at all stages of pregnancy.
The March of Dimes "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait" campaign urges health care providers and patients not to schedule a delivery until at least 39 completed weeks of pregnancy, unless there is a medical reason to do so. Many important organs, including the baby's brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "Strong Start" initiative is partnering with the March of Dimes to raise awareness about the importance of a full term pregnancy through paid advertising support and collaboration with hospitals to improve perinatal care.
The March of Dimes Report Card compares each state's preterm birth rate to the March of Dimes goal of lowering the rate to 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020. The Report Card information for the U.S. and states are available online at: marchofdimes.com/reportcard.
The Report Card also gauges states' progress toward lowering their preterm birth rates by tracking contributing factors.
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. The US ranked 131 out of 184 countries, according to a May 2012 global report on premature birth issued by the March of Dimes and several partners. This November 17th, the March
|Contact: Elizabeth Lynch|
March of Dimes Foundation