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Preterm birth rate shows three year improvement in most states
Date:10/31/2011

use of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetlong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. If there are no medical complications that require an early delivery, at least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby's health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.

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 March of Dimes says this goal can be achieved by a combination of activities: giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage, fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, getting preconception and early prenatal care, progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding elective c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary, and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth. The Report Card information for the U.S. and states are available online at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity.

This year, for the first time, a World Prematurity Day will be observed on November 17 by the March of Dimes along with organizations in Africa, Europe, and Australia. Worldwide, an estimated 13 million babies are born preterm and, of those, one million die as a result of their early birth, according to an October 2009 March of Dimes report on the global toll of preterm birth.


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

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