SC gets ‘D’ on March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Cards
by Robert Joseph Baker | November 6, 2014 10:35 am
The March of Dimes released the 2014 Premature Birth Report Cards today. The Premature Birth Report Card measures progress by comparing each state’s preterm birth rate to the goal of 9.6 percent. South Carolina’s preterm birth rate was 13.8 percent in 2013, and the state earned a “D” grade on the 2014 report card.
The national preterm birth rate fell to 11.4 percent in 2013 – the lowest in 17 years. Despite this progress, the nation received a “C” on the annual report card and still has the highest rate of preterm birth of any industrialized country.
“We recognize South Carolina has much work to do to improve the health of moms and babies, but we’re proud of our state’s long-term improvement of our prematurity rates. In 2006 we peaked at 15.4%” said Charles Rittenberg, MD, March of Dimes Program Services Committee Chair. “We will continue working 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. The March of Dimes is also investing in a network of prematurity research centers, to find solutions to this still too-common, costly, and serious problem.”
The Report Card information for the U.S. and states will be available online at: marchofdimes.org/reportcard.
Premature birth—birth before 37 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.
Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate healthcare providers and women about having healthy babies. November is Prematurity Awareness Month–the March of Dimes thanks Prematurity Awareness Month Sponsors including Select Health of South Carolina, Inc., OB Hospitalist Group, Palmetto Parent, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Newberry Magazine and Kiss 103.1 FM.
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.org/southcarolina. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.com.