Health of babies in U.S. takes a step backward

The organization released its annual report card on premature births Tuesday, detailing the nation’s preterm birth rate

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – According to an annual report from The March of Dimes, the health of babies in the United States has taken a step backward.

The organization released its annual report card on premature births Tuesday, detailing the nation’s preterm birth rate. U.S. PRETERM BIRTH RATE

For the first time in eight years, the preterm birth rate is worse, going from 9.57 to 9.63 in 2015. The rates were nearly 48 percent higher African-American women and more than 15 percent higher among American Indian/Alaska Native women compared to white women.

The United States earned a “C” on the March of Dimes report card.

Ohio didn’t see a change in its 10.3 percent rate, but earned a “C” and ranks worse than the national average. OHIO REPORT CARD

Pennsylvania also earned a “C” with a preterm birth rate of 9.4 percent. PENNSYLVANIA REPORT CARD

New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington earned an “A” on the 2016 Premature Birth Report Card.

A preterm birth is defined as birth at less than 37 weeks.

Each year in the United States, approximately 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely. According to the Centers for Disease Control, premature birth is the leading cause of death for babies in the United States, and babies who survive preterm birth have a harder time in school with learning and behavioral problems. PRETERM BIRTH INFORMATION

“Americans lead the world in medical research and care, yet the U.S. preterm birth rate still ranks near the bottom of high-resource nations,” Dr. Edward R.B. McCabe, March of Dimes Chief Medical Officer said. “We can do better by mobilizing resources and driving best practices and policies to ensure that no mother or baby falls through the cracks.”

The March of Dimes report card is released every year to raise awareness about preterm birth.

“The 2016 March of Dimes Report Card demonstrates that there is an unfair burden of premature birth among specific racial and ethnic groups as well as geographic areas,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, yet we see this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. Babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth.”

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 17 marks World Prematurity Day.