March of Dimes report: US preterm birth rate at 17-year low

November 14, 2014

The 7th annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card shows that in 2013, the preterm birth rate fell to its lowest in 17 years-11.5%--meeting Healthy People 2020 goals. That number, however, still earns a “C” grade from the organization, which has set a goal of 9.6% of all live births by 2020.

 

The 7th annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card shows that in 2013, the preterm birth rate fell to its lowest in 17 years-11.5%--meeting Healthy People 2020 goals. That number, however, still earns a “C” grade from the organization, which has set a goal of 9.6% of all live births by 2020.

The findings represent data from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, which recorded 450,000 premature births in 2013 versus 542,893 in 2006, when the rate was at its highest (12.8%). The Report Card compares each state’s preterm birth rate with the March of Dimes target.  All states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have signed a pledge to work toward the March of Dimes goal.

Between 2012 and 2013, preterm birth rates improved in 27 states and Puerto Rico. California, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont earned an “A” grade, 20 states received “B” grades, and 20 states received “C” grades. A “D” grade was earned by South Carolina and Florida. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Puerto Rico earned an “F.” 

Practice Bulletin: Premature rupture of  membranes

Preterm birth was defined as the percentage of all live births <37 completed weeks gestation. An “A” grade indicated a preterm birth rate ≤9.6%, “B” >9.6% but <1.3%, “C” ≥11.3% but <12.9%, “D” ≥12.9% but <14.6%, and an “F” score ≥14.6%.  Looking strategies for reducing risk of preterm birth, the March of Dimes found that in 30 states, the percentage of uninsured women of childbearing age fell; in 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke fell; and the late preterm birth rate dropped (birth 34 to 36 weeks’ gestation) in 30 state and Puerto Rico. Overall, the rate of preterm birth was 11.7% for Hispanic women, 10.5% for white women, 16.8% for black women, 13.6% in Native Americans, and 10.3% for Asians.  


 

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