March of Dimes is sending out report cards for preterm births, Idaho received a B.
Statistics across the nation show that this number has dropped for the fifth
consecutive year. In 2011, it was the lowest in a decade down to 11.7 percent.
Summer Haase looks into the data to find out more.
All this improvement means not just healthier babies, but
also a potential savings of roughly 3 billion dollars in health care and
economic costs to society. The rates in Idaho have risen about one percent in uninsured women.
The US preterm birth rate peaked in 2006 at 12.8 percent,
after rising steadily for more than two decades. Local Doctor, Brian Fulks, encourages pregnant women to not smoke and have more checkups throughout their pregnancy to help go full term.
“When women get late pre-natal care, meaning late into their
pregnancy, there are some things that can happen early on in pregnancy that if
we caught sooner can really help their infant develop fully and maybe make it
to the full term,” said Dr. Brin Fulks.
About 64,000 fewer babies were born preterm in 2010, when
compared to 2006, the peak year. Although the United States preterm birth rates are improving, it again earned a “C” on the Report Card. There are also rising rates in late preterm births, this is due to an early induction of labor and c-sections.
“These babies that are born at 23 and 24 weeks, they have
quite a few health problems to overcome and some do have some lifelong
problems, but as you get closer to your due date most of the time the babies do
very well,” added Dr. Fulks.
Idaho’s current rate of premature Briths are at 10.2 percent and Idaho has pledged to continue to reduce preterm birth rates to 8 percent by 2014.