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New global report says US lags behind 130 other nations in preterm birth rate
Date:5/3/2012

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Dr. Howse said prevention of preterm birth can be accelerated, with a variety of known, effective health interventions, including:

  • giving all women of childbearing age in the U.S. access to health care, including adolescents, and including care before, between, and during pregnancy;
  • behavioral changes to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy;
  • progesterone treatments for women who have had a previous preterm birth;
  • better management of fertility treatments that result in multiple gestations (twins, triplets or higher);
  • hospital quality improvement initiatives to reduce early inductions and Cesarean deliveries before a full 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary.

"This report underscores the need for action to reduce premature birth in the U.S., and state and territorial health officials have a critical role in championing and implementing proven solutions," says David L. Lakey, M.D., president, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services. "Interventions that promote full term, 39-week pregnancies and improve the health of babies can significantly reduce health care costs."

In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced "Strong Start," an initiative that includes funding for enhanced prenatal care, hospital quality improvement programs, and a co-branded educational effort with the March of Dimes "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait" campaign to let women know that if their pregnancy is healthy, it's best to wait for labor to begin on its own rather than scheduling a delivery.

Born Too Soon and an interactive map showing the preterm birth rates in the 184 countries in the report are available online at marchofdimes.com/borntoosoon.

For a state-by-state breakdown of preterm birth rates within
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Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
elynch@marchofdimes.com
914-997-4286
March of Dimes Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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