Preterm birth rates in the United States rose slightly for the first time in the past eight years to 9.63% — and the more disturbing trend is widening disparities between races and ethnicities. The 2016 Premature Birth Report Card by the March of Dimes assessed the preterm birth rates nationally and on a state level. Nationally, preterm birth rates were almost 48% higher for black women than white women, and for American Indian/Alaska Native women the rate was 15% higher than for white women. Women who are Asian/Pacific Islander had the lowest rates of preterm birth rates with an average of 8.5%, which is close to the goal of 8.1% that March of Dimes has set for 2020, but still significantly higher than the organization’s goal of 5.5% by 2030. Some states, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, and Oregon were given grades of “A” for having preterm birth rates of 8.1% or less. While many “B” and “C” grades were distributed throughout the country, the states earning the worst grades were concentrated in the South, with Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama all earning “F”s. Preterm birth accounts for more than $26 billion dollars in avoidable medical and societal costs. Although the reasons behind preterm birth are not well-understood, factors associated with preterm birth can include race, tobacco and alcohol use, low maternal income or socioeconomic status, and stress.

+ 2016 Premature Birth Report Card

via Parents

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