The United States again received a "C" on the March of Dimes Report Card. Grades are based on comparing each state's and the nation's 2011 preliminary preterm birth rates with the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preterm birth rate is 11.7 percent, a decline of more than 8 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006.
Partnerships with the California Department of Public Health and leading research Universities, including Stanford University, are two recent steps March of Dimes is taking to further improve rates of preterm birth in California.
The California Department of Public Health joins 47 other states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in a pledge to reduce premature birth and infant mortality, according to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The goal is to reduce the state's preterm birth rates by eight percent by 2014. The State will work with March of Dimes to promote the use of March of Dimes quality improvement programs in the state's hospitals and utilize the organization's resources to educate pregnant and parenting women. The State has enouraged all 61 California health jurisdictions to partner with March of Dimes on prematurity prevention activities.
"We will continue to work with the State of California to improve access to health care, help women quit smoking and encourage women and health care providers to avoid scheduling a delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary," added Kowalewski.
In another major step to combat preterm birth, March of Dimes in early 2011 launched the nation's first transdisciplinary research center dedicated to identifying the causes of premature birth. The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine has brought together specialists
|Contact: Sheri Lunn|
March of Dimes Foundation