US Preemie Birth Rates Rise 2 Years in a Row

From Drugs.com - November 1, 2017

US Preemie Birth Rates Rise 2 Years in a Row

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1, 2017 -- After nearly a decade of decline, the preterm birth rate in the United States has risen for the second year in a row, the March of Dimes reports.

And racial and ethnic disparities are driving the increase, the group added.

The premature birth rate rose from 9.63 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016, and the number of preterm births increased by 8,000, according to the group's new report. The premature birth rate was 9.57 percent in 2014, according to the March of Dimes.

"The U.S. preterm birth rate is among the worst of highly developed nations," said Stacey Stewart, president of the March of Dimes. "This report card is a public wake-up call, an urgent call to action on the health of our nation's moms and babies."

Compared to white women, black women are 49 percent more likely to deliver preterm. For American Indian/Alaska Native women, the number is 18 percent.

"Moms and babies face a higher risk of preterm birth based on race and zip code," Stewart said in a March of Dimes news release.

A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. A full-term birth is around 40 weeks.


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