Posts Tagged ‘preterm birth rate’

More babies being born too soon

Friday, June 30th, 2017

pregnant woman blood pressureFor the second year in a row, the preterm birth rate in the United States has gone up. Preterm birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. According to a preliminary report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the preterm birth rate rose to 9.84% in 2016, up 2% from 9.63% in 2015.

 After seven years of a steady decline in the preterm birth rate, this increase is alarming.

Reduce your risk

We don’t know why this is happening. But we do know that there are some things a woman can do to help reduce her chance of giving birth too soon. Here are some of them:

  • See your prenatal care provider as soon as you think you’re pregnant. And go to all of your prenatal care appointments. Go even if you’re feeling fine. Prenatal care helps your provider make sure you and your baby are healthy.
  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, use street drugs or abuse prescription drugs. Ask your provider about programs in your area that can help you quit.
  • Talk to your provider about your weight. Ask how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Try to get to a healthy weight before your next pregnancy.
  • Get treated for chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid problems.
  • Protect yourself from infections. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, caring for small children, or blowing your nose. Don’t eat raw meat or fish. Have safe sex. Don’t touch cat poop.
  • Reduce your stress. Exercise and eat healthy foods. Ask for help from family and friends. Get help if your partner abuses you. Talk to your boss about how to lower your stress at work.
  • Wait at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again. See your provider for a preconception checkup before your next pregnancy.

 

Know the signs

If you have any of these signs or symptoms before 37 weeks of pregnancy, you may be having preterm labor. Call your health care provider right away if you have even one of these signs or symptoms:

  • Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual
  • Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down
  • Constant low, dull backache
  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
  • Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.
  • Your water breaks

If you think you’re having preterm labor, call your provider. Call even if you have just one sign or symptom. There are several treatments that may help slow or stop preterm labor. And there are treatments, like antenatal corticosteroids (also called ACS), that can help reduce your baby’s chances for having health problems (like lung problems) in case he’s born early.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

US preterm birth rate declines

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Early and tinyThe US preterm birth rate fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2012 to 11.54 percent of all births, the lowest it has been in 15 years and a 10 percent decline since the 2006 peak of 12.8 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statics report issued today.

“This is great news and it means thousands more babies were spared the serious health consequences of an early birth,” said March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. “This sustained improvement over these past six consecutive years shows that when infant health becomes a priority, babies benefit. We thank our many state and local health department and hospital partners and physicians and nurses for their dedication to the health of moms and babies. With their continued support, and with the right policies and bold leadership, we look forward to continued health improvements for newborns. We will continue to implement proven interventions and accelerate our investment in new research to prevent preterm birth so one day every baby will get a healthy start in life. ”

Report cards are out!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Preterm birth rates improved in almost every state between 2006 and 2009, and in several states the change was more than 10 percent, according to the March of Dimes 2011 Premature Birth Report Card.

“The three-year improvement in the U.S. preterm birth rate means that 40,000 more babies were given a healthy start in life and spared the risk of life-long health consequences of an early birth,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “It means that, nationwide, we saved at least $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs. Now we owe it to the other half a million infants who were born too soon to work together to give them the same chance.”

So what’s working? For more than two years, the March of Dimes has been working with hospitals and health policy experts to identify and promote positive actions that have reduced the number of medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Also new treatments, such as progesterone (17P), which has been shown to prevent some preterm births in medically eligible women, has helped lower the preterm birth rate.

The March of Dimes report card compares each state’s preterm birth rate to the March of Dimes goal of lowering the rate to 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020.  This goal can be achieved by a combination of activities:  giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage; fully putting into operation proven actions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy; getting preconception and early prenatal care; progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible; avoiding multiples from fertility treatments; avoiding elective c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary; and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth.

The Report Card information for the U.S. and all states is available online at this link.

Preterm birth rate drops 3 percent

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

The nation’s preterm birth rate dropped for the second consecutive year. New nationwide statistics show a 3 percent decline in the preterm birth rate, according to a report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics. March of Dimes officials say they are encouraged and hope that the decline is a new trend in infant health. The data are based on 99.9 percent of U.S. births and the improvement must be confirmed in the final data.

“We’re beginning to see the benefits of years of hard work by the March of Dimes and its partners.  This decline, although small, is heartening,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.  “It means about 14,000 babies were spared the health risks of an early birth. We hope that this is just the beginning of what’s possible, and that efforts such as health care reform and our programs to make woman and their doctors aware of things they can do to lower the risk of a preterm birth will continue to bear fruit in years to come.”

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