Alabama maintains six-year improvement in preterm birth rate
BIRMINGHAM, AL -
From: The March of Dimes;
lowered its preterm birth rate, giving more babies a healthy start in life and
contributing to the national six-year improving trend.
lowered its preterm birth rate, but not enough to change its grade. It again
earned an F on the 2013 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. The 2012
preterm birth rate was 14.6 percent, down from 14.9 percent in 2011.
with our state health officials and local hospitals have helped us make newborn
health a priority and lowered our preterm birth rate, making a difference in
babies' lives," said Lisa Carter, MSN, BSN, prematurity awareness spokesperson
and regional perinatal director. "We will continue to work to give all babies a
healthy start in life because too many still are born too soon, before their
lungs, brains or other organs are fully developed."
The March of
Dimes and the Alabama Department of Public Health are conducting a perinatal conference
for health professionals at Rosewood Hall, in Homewood, Ala., on Friday, Nov.1.
Conference speakers will address many of the risk factors contributing to
preterm birth and infant mortality.
part of a national trend toward improved preterm birth rates. On the 2013
Report Card, 31 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia saw
improvement in their preterm birth rates between 2011 and 2012. Nationwide, 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 the preterm birth rates for babies born at all
stages of pregnancy improved.
state saw its preterm birth rate decline since 2006, the national peak.
the rate of late preterm births is 10 percent; the rate of women smoking is
27.3 percent and the rate of uninsured women is 21 percent.
factors contribute to improved infant health in the state. Alabama earned a
star on the report card for reducing the percent of uninsured women of
childbearing age and lowering the late preterm birth rate. These improvements
mean not just healthier babies, but also a potential savings in health care and
economic costs to society.
The March of
Dimes attributed the improved rates to an expansion of successful programs and
interventions, including actions by state health officials here and in all
other 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.
continue to work together to improve access to health care, help women quit
smoking and, through our Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait consumer education
campaign, encourage women and health care providers to avoid scheduling a
delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary," said Carter.
States again received a "C" on the March of Dimes Report Card. Grades are
based on comparing each state's and the nation's 2012 preliminary preterm birth
rates with the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births. The
U.S. preterm birth rate is 11.5 percent, a decline of 10 percent from the peak
of 12.8 percent in 2006.
Card information for the U.S. and states will be available online at: marchofdimes.com/reportcard.
birth, birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, 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 newborn death, and
babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health
challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual
disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher
rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. At least 39 weeks
of pregnancy are important to a baby's health because many important organs,
including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.
Nov. 17, partners from around the world will mark the Third World Prematurity
Day in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort led by UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. An estimated 15 million babies are born
premature and of those more than a million die as a result of their early
volunteers can observe World Prematurity Day by sending their friends a
"virtual hug" to show they care about premature babies. The "Hugs" campaign
dramatizes the benefits of Kangaroo care, which is when parents cuddle their
premature baby skin-to-skin. Kangaroo care is one of the most comforting things
parents can do for their child. It helps keep the baby warm, stabilizes the
baby's heart rate and helps the baby gain weight.
Awareness events are happening throughout November, including the following.
Details can be found at marchofdimes.com/alabama.
On Friday, Nov. 1, at Rosewood Hall, Homewood, Ala., registered nurses, leading
obstetricians, neonatologists, perinatal social workers, public health
officials and other maternal and child health professionals are being updated
on the latest developments in preventing premature birth and infant mortality.
Contact Robin Allison Collins at 205.588.0501 or firstname.lastname@example.org for
information about the conference.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, Alabama's faith community will join congregations around
the world in prayer for babies, expectant mothers and for the families that
love them. For House of Worship materials and messages, contact Robin Allison
Collins at 205.588.0501 or email@example.com.
In 2013, the
March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing
work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the
Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other
breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with
birth defects. About 4 million babies are born each year in the United
States, and all have benefitted the March of Dimes life saving research and
the March of Dimes
The March of
Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With
chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies
by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the
latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or
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