Posts Tagged ‘Premature Birth Report Card’

US gets a “C” on premature birth report card

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

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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.
 
Four states – Vermont, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Maine earned an “A” on the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card as their preterm birth rates met the March of Dimes 9.6 percent goal. Although, the US preterm birth rate improved, it again earned a “C” on the Report Card.

The US preterm birth rate peaked in 2006 at 12.8, after rising steadily for more than two decades, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It dropped to 11.7 in 2011, the lowest in a decade.

All this improvement means not just healthier babies, but also a potential savings of roughly $3 billion in health care and economic costs to society, said Dr. Howse, President of the March of Dimes. About 64,000 fewer babies were born preterm in 2010, when compared to 2006, the peak year.

Dr. Howse attributed the improved rates to an expansion of successful programs and interventions, including actions by state health officials in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, who formally set goals to lower their preterm birth rates 8 percent by 2014 from their 2009 rate, based on a challenge issued in 2011 by the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations. On the 2012 Report Card, 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico saw improvement in their preterm birth rates between 2009 and 2011, earning 16 of them better grades.

The largest declines in premature birth occurred among babies born at 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, but the improvement was across the board. Every racial and ethnic group benefitted, and there were fewer preterm babies born at all stages of pregnancy.

The March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign urges health care providers and patients not to schedule a delivery until at least 39 completed weeks of pregnancy, unless there is a medical reason to do so. Many important organs, including the baby’s brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Strong Start” initiative is partnering with the March of Dimes to raise awareness about the importance of a full term pregnancy through paid advertising support and collaboration with hospitals to improve perinatal care.

The March of Dimes Report Card compares each state’s preterm birth rate to the March of Dimes goal of lowering the rate to 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020. The Report Card information for the U.S. and states is available at this link.

Report cards are out!

Tuesday, November 1st, 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.

“The three-year improvement in the U.S. preterm birth rate means that 40,000 more babies were given a healthy start in life and spared the risk of life-long health consequences of an early birth,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “It means that, nationwide, we saved at least $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs. Now we owe it to the other half a million infants who were born too soon to work together to give them the same chance.”

So what’s working? For more than two years, the March of Dimes has been working with hospitals and health policy experts to identify and promote positive actions that have reduced the number of medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Also new treatments, such as progesterone (17P), which has been shown to prevent some preterm births in medically eligible women, has helped lower the preterm birth rate.

The March of Dimes report card compares each state’s preterm birth rate to the March of Dimes goal of lowering the rate to 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020.  This goal can be achieved by a combination of activities:  giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage; fully putting into operation proven actions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy; getting preconception and early prenatal care; progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible; avoiding multiples from fertility treatments; avoiding elective c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary; and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth.

The Report Card information for the U.S. and all states is available online at this link.

Premature Birth Report Card

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Eight states earned a better grade on the 2010 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card and 32 others and the District of Columbia saw their preterm birth rates improve.

Following three decades of increases, in 2008 the nation saw the first two-year decline in the preterm birth rate, a 4 percent drop from 2006. The 2008 preliminary preterm birth rate dropped to 12.3 percent, from the 2006 final rate of 12.8 percent. The March of Dimes says 79 percent of the decline was among babies born just a few weeks too soon.

Overall, the United States received a “D” on the report card, when national preterm birth rates are measured against the Healthy People 2010 goals.  The United States has a high rate of preterm birth compared to top scoring states and, notably, most industrialized countries.

On the 2010 report card, 17 states earned a “C,” 20 received a “D,” and 13 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico failed. However, most states saw improvement in at least one of the three contributing factors the March of Dimes tracks.

·                    28 states and Puerto Rico reduced the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke;

·                    17 states and the District of Columbia reduced the percentage of uninsured women of childbearing age;

·                    37 states and Puerto Rico lowered the late preterm birth rate, infants born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation.

Curious to find out how your state did?  I was.

United States Scores a big fat “D”

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day, and I really wish I had some happy news to report. We just released the second annual Premature Birth Report Card and America scored a depressing “D.” What that means is that every year, we’re failing more than half a million babies.

 

Each state received its own report card, by the way, and you can find your state’s grade here. No state earned an “A,” and Vermont was the only state that received a “B.” Even though seven states improved their grade, I’m sure you’ll agree we have a long way to go.

 

You can help in a big way today by blogging about premature birth. And updating your Facebook and Twitter status.