The rate of premature babies born in the US has risen for the third year in a row, according to the annual Premature Birth Report Card from March of Dimes. The results come on the heels of nearly a decade of decline from 2007 to 2015.
The overall preterm birth rate rose from 9.85 percent in 2016 to 9.93 percent in 2017. While it’s a fairly small window between the two years, the difference means 3,000 more babies were born prematurely, Becky Russell, senior director of applied research and evaluation at March of Dimes, tells NPR.
Although there is no single cause of preterm birth, the research shows inequities and unequal access to quality health and maternity care negatively impact these numbers. Women of color are up to 50 percent more likely to deliver prematurely, and their kids have the potential to face a much higher infant death rate.
The report is a major wakeup call to provide better access to healthcare for all women. In fact,…
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