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Nation gets a 'D' as March of Dimes releases premature birth report card
Date:11/11/2008

rategies that benefit mothers and babies.

The Report Card also is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the National Business Group on Health, the American Benefits Council and dozens of other business and maternal and infant health organizations.

The Report Card also calls for:

  • Expanded federal support for prematurity-related research to uncover the causes of premature birth and lead not only to strategies for prevention, but also improved care and outcomes for preterm infants.
  • Hospital leaders to voluntarily review all Cesarean-section births and inductions of labor that occur before 39 weeks gestation, in an effort to reverse America's rising preterm birth rate. The review should ensure that all c-sections and inductions meet established professional guidelines.
  • Policymakers to improve access to health coverage for women of childbearing age and to support smoking cessation programs as part of maternity care.
  • 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 National Healthy People 2010 preterm birth objective is to lower the rate to 7.6 percent of all live births. Latest available data (2005) show that the national preterm birth rate is 12.7 percent.

"Employers can play a key role in helping their employees and dependents have healthy babies and healthy families," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "The March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card provides guidance on best practices that can help any size business."

The March of Dimes says that in 2009, Report Card grades will reflect state actions taken that have the potential to reduce preterm birth rates in future years.

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Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
elynch@marchofdimes.com
914-997-4286
March of Dimes Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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