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U.S. Gets a 'D' for Preterm Birth Rate
Date:11/17/2009

nsylvania, pregnant women are screened for chronic conditions and risks factors that can be treated proactively to lower the risk of preterm birth.

A program run by the Hospital Corporation of America based in Tennessee, which delivers about 5 percent of all U.S. births in the 21 states it serves, reduced the primary C-section rate, lowered maternal and fetal injuries and reduced the cost of obstetric malpractice claims by 500 percent. Also, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Texas reduced its preterm birth rate to 4.9 percent in 2006 from 10.4 percent in 1988 by establishing a comprehensive, community-based public health care system of prenatal care that targets minority pregnant women.

In the United States, more than 540,000 babies are born too soon each year. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and others. A March of Dimes report released in October found that 13 million babies worldwide were born preterm, and more than one million die each year.

The March of Dimes released its second annual report card today, the 7th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day(R), when the March of Dimes focuses the nation's attention on the growing problem of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation). A special Web site - marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies - includes state profiles on prematurity and ways for volunteers to help reduce the premature rate.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit '/>"/>

SOURCE March of Dimes
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