March of Dimes report: US failing preterm babies

November 17, 2008

The United States received a "D", and only one state received a grade higher than a "C", in the first March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.

The United States received a "D", and only one state received a grade higher than a "C", in the first March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.

The only state to earn a "B" was Vermont. Of the remaining states, eight earned a "C", 23 earned a "D", and 18 received an "F", as did the District of Columbia and Peurto Rico. The March of Dimes derived the ratings when comparing actual preterm birth rates with those of the national Healthy People 2010 objective.

In the report, the March of Dimes called for expanded federal support for prematurity-related research investigating the causes of premature birth; for hospital leaders to review all C-section births and inductions of labor that occur before 39 weeks gestation; and for policymakers to improve health coverage access for women of childbearing age, and to support smoking cessation programs as part of maternity care.

The report is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and other organizations.