Preterm birth rate drops

Mar 18, 2009
These are the rates of preterm birth by state, final 2006 and preliminary 2007 data.Source: National Center for Health Statistics, 2006 final and 2007 preliminary natality data. Prepared by March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, March 2009.

The nation's preterm birth rate declined slightly in 2007 - a finding that the March of Dimes hopes will prove to be the start of a new trend in improved maternal and infant health.

The rate declined for babies born at 34-36 weeks gestation (late preterm) and among babies born to African American and white women.

"We're encouraged by this drop in the preterm , and hope that the emphasis we've put on the problem of late preterm birth is beginning to make a difference," said Jennifer L. Howse, Ph.D., president of the March of Dimes. "Through our Prematurity Campaign, we can build on this success and begin to give more babies a healthy start in life."

The rate of preterm births (less than 37 weeks gestation) dropped to 12.7 percent from 12.8 percent in 2006, a small but statistically significant decrease, according to preliminary birth data for 2007 released by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The preterm birth rate has increased by 36 percent since the 1980s, and despite the decline in the 2007 preterm birth rate, the number of babies born too soon continues to top more than 540,000 each year.

Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as , mental retardation and others. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon (34-36 weeks gestation, also known as late preterm birth) have higher rates of death and disability than full-term babies.

Source: March of Dimes Foundation

Explore further: Tobacco use varies widely among Asian and Pacific Islanders in US

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Preterm births rise 36 percent since early 1980s

Jan 07, 2009

New government statistics confirm that the decades-long rise in the United States preterm birth rate continues, putting more infants than ever at increased risk of death and disability.

More babies born prematurely, new report shows

Dec 06, 2007

The preterm birth rate rose again in 2005 and preliminary data for 2006 show a continued increase, underscoring the urgent need for a sustained, comprehensive plan to address this growing crisis.

Nearly 28,000 US infants died in 2004

May 04, 2007

Preterm birth contributes to more than one-third of all infant deaths, according to the National Vital Statistics report released today.

Recommended for you

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

1 hour ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

16 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...