Oklahoma’s Preterm Birth Rate Rises at 10.6 Percent, Earning the State a D Grade

Oklahoma’s Preterm Birth Rate Rises at 10.6 Percent, Earning the State a D Grade

OK (KSWO)— According to the 2017 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, Oklahoma's preterm birth rate is higher from a year ago. At 10.6 percent, the state received a D grade on the annual report.

"Although this is disappointing news, we are working collectively with our partners to mobilize resources and drive best practices and policies to ensure that no mother or baby falls through the cracks." said Dr. Mary Anne McCaffree, Professor of Pediatrics, Neonatal Perinatal Medicine University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine and Chair of the March of Dimes Maternal Child Health Committee and Co-Chair Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan Child Health Group. "All babies, in Oklahoma and everywhere deserve a healthy start in in life."

The nation's rate of preterm birth also increased in 2016 after nearly a decade of declines. More than 380,000 babies are born preterm in the U.S. each year.

"The 2017 March of Dimes Report Card demonstrates that moms and babies in this country face a higher risk of preterm birth based on race and zip code," says Stacey D. Stewart, president of the March of Dimes. "We see that preterm birth rates worsened in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and among all racial/ethnic groups. This is an unacceptable trend that requires immediate attention… The March of Dimes is dedicated to giving every baby a fair chance for a healthy start in life, and our work is more vital than ever."

Premature birth is the largest contributor to the death of babies in the U.S.  Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.

Information provided by the March of Dimes.