Premature Birth Report Card 2011
Danielle Prenevost, March of Dimes, (612) 326-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota receives a "B", Nation earns a "C"Edina, MN, November 01, 2011
When Lilly Parr was born in September of 2009, she was one of 7,200 babies born too soon and too small in Minnesota. The 10.1 percent rate of prematurity earned Minnesota a “B” on the 2011 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. The United States as a whole earned a “C”.
Lilly Parr was born almost 3 months early, weighing just 2 pounds, 2 ounces. She spent more than 100 days in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. Lilly's parents credit the March of Dimes for funding the research that helped their daughter survive and thrive.
"During Lilly's birthday party, we were able to take a little time to reflect on Lilly's first two years,” shared Lilly’s mother Danette of St. Paul. “Once again we were struck by the fact that without the help of the March of Dimes and Lilly's medical team, we certainly would not have our precious Lilly here with us today."
Since 2006, Minnesota’s preterm birth rate has dropped 5 percent. In Minnesota, the rate of late preterm births is 10.1 percent; the rate of women smoking is 16.9 percent, and the rate of uninsured women is 12.1 percent. One factor that contributes to preterm birth improved in Minnesota. It earned a star for reducing the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke.
“The trend is moving in the right direction. Since 2006, when the nation’s preterm birth rate peaked, our rates have improved and we will continue to work together with our partners for stronger, healthier babies,” said Glenn Andis, March of Dimes Minnesota Chapter Board Chair. “We are determined to find and implement solutions to improve the health of babies, such as improving access to health care coverage, helping women quit smoking, and preventing unnecessary early c-sections so more babies can get a healthy start in life.”
Quality improvement programs are key to lowering preterm birth rates, according to the March of Dimes. Here in Minnesota, the March of Dimes supports a Department of Human Services initiative to eliminate medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy. The policy, which goes into effect in January 2012, will improve the health of babies and save the state an estimated $1.274 million over the 2012-2013 biennium.
While Minnesota received a “B on the Premature Birth Report Card, the United States received a “C” on the March of Dimes Report Card. Grades are based on comparing the state’s and the nation’s 2009 preliminary preterm birth rates with the new March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preterm birth rate is 12.2 percent down nearly 5 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006.
Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks completed gestation, 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 critical to a baby’s health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.
Prematurity Awareness events are happening throughout November, including online grand rounds for Minnesota medical professionals November 17 to learn about how to implement policies to avoid medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Speakers include Jeff Schiff, MD, Medical Director Minnesota Health Care Programs, MN Department of Human Services and Stan Davis, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fairview Health Services.
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. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.