US preterm birth rate declines

Early and tinyThe US preterm birth rate fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2012 to 11.54 percent of all births, the lowest it has been in 15 years and a 10 percent decline since the 2006 peak of 12.8 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statics report issued today.

“This is great news and it means thousands more babies were spared the serious health consequences of an early birth,” said March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. “This sustained improvement over these past six consecutive years shows that when infant health becomes a priority, babies benefit. We thank our many state and local health department and hospital partners and physicians and nurses for their dedication to the health of moms and babies. With their continued support, and with the right policies and bold leadership, we look forward to continued health improvements for newborns. We will continue to implement proven interventions and accelerate our investment in new research to prevent preterm birth so one day every baby will get a healthy start in life. ”

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