Report shows smoking and lack of insurance leading factors in premature births
National Report Card shows percentage of women smokers ahead of national average
MILWAUKEE, Wis., November 1, 2013 –The United States’ preterm birth rate dropped for the sixth consecutive year in 2012 to 11.5 percent, a 15-year low, according to the March of Dimes 2013 Prematurity Birth Report Card. In Wisconsin the rate rose slightly to 10.5 percent, up one tenth of a point from the previous year’s 10.4 percent.
The only category Wisconsin lost ground in was the rate of uninsured women, which rose from 11.2 percent to 11.8.
“As the report card indicated health care before and during pregnancy can help identify and manage conditions that contribute to premature birth,” said Jodi Legge, Executive Director of the March of Dimes in Wisconsin.
Other factors where Wisconsin failed to make progress include the number of late preterm births, which stayed steady at 7.5 percent.
“Some of these babies may be born early as the result of an early induction or c-section that is not medically necessary,” said Legge. “As an organization our goal is that all babies reach at least 39 weeks of pregnancy. That’s why we launched our Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait campaign to reach that goal. Even babies born just a few weeks early are still at increased risk for death and disability.”
The other leading factor of Wisconsin’s high number of premature births is the percentage of women ages 18- 44 who smoke. “It’s unacceptable that Wisconsin ranks above the national average,” said Legge. “This is an important health issue not only for children but for mothers as well.”
“Although we made great progress in reducing our nation’s preterm birth rate from historic highs, the US still has the highest rate of preterm birth of any industrialized country. We must continue to invest in premature birth prevention because every baby deserves a healthy start in life,” said Legge.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. In Wisconsin, one in nine babies is born prematurely.
For more information about the March of Dimes or to review the report card, visit us online at www.marchofdimes.com/reportcard.
Prematurity Birth Report Card – English
Prematurity Birth Report Card – Spanish