U.S. premature births rise for 1st time in 8 years

November 1, 2016

(HealthDay)—The rate of premature births in the United States increased in 2015 for the first time in eight years, and rates are especially high among certain racial and ethnic groups, a March of Dimes report says.

The overall rate rose from 9.57 percent to 9.63 percent, according to data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Rates in 2015 were nearly 48 percent higher for black women and more than 15 percent higher for American Indian/Alaska Native women compared to white women, according to the report.

The findings led the March of Dimes to give the United States a "C" grade on its latest Premature Birth Report Card.

The report card "demonstrates that there is an unfair burden of among specific racial and as well as geographic areas," said Dr. Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes.

"The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, yet we see this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. Babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth," she said in a news release from the group.

Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the leading cause of death of infants in the United States. Children who survive preterm birth can have serious and lifelong health conditions such as breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays, according to the March of Dimes.

In the United States, preterm birth causes more than $26 billion each year in avoidable medical and societal costs, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

The gave an "A" to four states—New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Sixteen states got a "B," while 21 states and the District of Columbia got a "C." Six states and Puerto Rico got a "D," and three states—Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi—got an "F."

Seven states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wisconsin—got lower grades this year than last year.

Maine ranked first in efforts and progress towards eliminating racial/ethnic disparities in preterm birth, while Hawaii ranked 50th, the report said.

"Americans lead the world in medical research and care, yet the U.S. rate still ranks near the bottom of high-resource nations," said Dr. Edward McCabe, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes.

"We can do better by mobilizing resources and driving best practices and policies to ensure that no mother or baby falls through the cracks," he said.

Explore further: United States' premature birth rate continues to decline

More information: The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more on preterm labor and birth.

Related Stories

United States' premature birth rate continues to decline

January 31, 2013
(HealthDay)—The rate of premature births has declined to 11.7 percent, the lowest rate in a decade, according to the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card.

March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card grades cities; focuses on racial disparities

November 5, 2015
Portland, Oregon has the best preterm birth rate of the top 100 cities with the most births nationwide, while Shreveport, Louisiana has the worst, according to the 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, which for ...

US preterm birth rate drops to 15-year low

November 1, 2013
Six states – Alaska, California, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont – earned an "A" on the March of Dimes 2013 Premature Birth Report Card as their preterm birth rates met the March of Dimes 9.6 percent goal. The ...

US preterm birth rate hits healthy people 2020 goal seven years early

November 6, 2014
The national preterm birth rate fell to 11.4 percent in 2013 – the lowest in 17 years—meeting the federal Healthy People 2020 goal seven years early. Despite this progress, the U.S. still received a "C" on the 7th annual ...

US preterm birth rate shows 5-year improvement

November 13, 2012
The U.S. preterm birth rate dropped for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 to 11.7 percent, the lowest in a decade, giving thousands more babies a healthy start in life and saving billions in health and social costs.

Preterm birth rate shows three year improvement in most states

November 1, 2011
Preterm birth rates improved in almost every state between 2006 and 2009, and in several states the change was more than 10 percent, according to the March of Dimes 2011 Premature Birth Report Card.

Recommended for you

Blood test may identify gestational diabetes risk in first trimester

August 16, 2018
A blood test conducted as early as the 10th week of pregnancy may help identify women at risk for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related condition that poses potentially serious health risks for mothers and infants, according ...

Artificial placenta created in the laboratory

August 14, 2018
In order to better understand important biological membranes, it is necessary to explore new methods. Researchers at Vienna University of Technology (Vienna) have succeeded in creating an artificial placental barrier on a ...

The inequalities of prenatal stress

August 14, 2018
Exposure to an acute stress in utero can have long-term consequences extending into childhood – but only among children in poor households, according to a new Stanford study that looked at the long-term impact of acute, ...

Better studies needed on effectiveness of fertility awareness-based methods for contraception

August 10, 2018
A new systematic review provides the most comprehensive assessment to date on the scientific evidence estimating the effectiveness of various fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) for contraception. "Effectiveness of ...

Inducing labor at 39 weeks reduces likelihood of C-sections

August 8, 2018
Inducing labor in healthy first-time mothers in the 39th week of pregnancy results in lower rates of cesarean sections compared with waiting for labor to begin naturally at full term, according to a multicenter study funded ...

Three-dimensional model of human placenta developed

August 3, 2018
The placenta is the organ connecting mother and embryo. Its main functions are the exchange of nutrients, gases and metabolic products and the production of hormones and other substances essential for embryonic development. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.