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Preterm births increasing in United States

According to the 2022 March of Dimes report card, it was reported that maternal and infant outcomes have worsened, with the preterm birth rate reaching 10.5% in 2021.

The preterm birth rate in the United States was 10.5% in 2021, according to the 2022 March of Dimes report card.

March of Dimes gathers data on neonatal outcomes and maternal risk factors, including measurements on infant mortality, preterm birth, rates of low-risk cesarean births and inadequate prenatal care, and social drivers of health.

In the 2022 report card, March of Dimes found that maternal and infant health has worsened. Low-risk cesarean births and preterm births have both increased, with these groups experiencing a greater health equity gap than in prior years. 

The rate of preterm births is 10.5%, which is a 4% increase from the previous year. This has caused the United States to receive a preterm birth grade of D+. This has significantly affected Black woman, who have a 52% higher preterm birth rate than white women. The disparity ratio has worsened and is now 1.26.

Infant mortality is often used to measure overall health, and cases of infant mortality are often attributed to low birth weight, preterm birth, birth defects, maternal complications, and sudden infant death syndrome. In 2022, the infant mortality rate was 5.4 per 1000 live births. The highest infant mortality rate was seen in non-Hispanic Black women.

Other clinical measures were gathered to determine maternal health. The rate of low-risk cesarean births was 26.3%. Low-risk cesarean births was defined as first-time moms carrying a single baby who had cesarean births, delivered head-first after at least 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Inadequate parental care was also measured, defined as the rate of women who were given care starting from at least the fifth month, or women who received under half of the recommended number of visits based on their infant’s gestational age. Inadequate parental care was 14.5%.

Because of the worsening state of maternal and infant health, authors of the report recommended policies be implemented to help improve maternal and infant health outcomes across the United States.

Reference

2022 March of Dimes report card. March of Dimes. Accessed November 28, 2022. https://marchofdimes.org/sites/default/files/2022-11/2022-MarchofDimes-ReportCard-UnitedStates.pdf