March of Dimes Gives U.S. a "D" in Premature Births

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baby prematureBy 2010, the federal government hopes to reduce premature births to no more than 7.6 percent born before 37 weeks. It looks like they have a lot of work to do to reach their goal.

The March of Dimes recently graded each of the 50 states on a report card of sorts. Even Vermont, the state with the lowest premature birth rate, saw nine percent of babies born too early. The United States as a whole received a "D," nearly a failing grade.

Even more striking was the disparity found between the states. Southern states have a much higher percentage of premature births than northern states do, 14.4 percent in West Virginia, 18 percent in Mississippi. Though experts say there are complex issues that can affect premature births, the March of Dimes is asking states to focus on three important factors:
  • lack of health insurance which means little or no prenatal care.
  • smoking habits of pregnant mothers
  • Cesarean sections done too early
View the March of Dimes state-by-state guide to see where your own state stands, though Vermont's "B" is the highest grade on the whole map. Then sign the petition to ask government leaders to support research and policy that will help us reverse this troubling trend.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.