The rate of premature births, the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, increased in 2016 for the second year in a row after nearly a decade of decline, according to a study published today by the March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to the health of mothers and babies. .
More than 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States and face a higher probability of death before the first year of life, disabilities or chronic health problems.
According to the March of Dimes, 8,000 more babies were born prematurely in 2016, due to the increase from 9.6 to 9.8% in the premature birth rate between 2015 and 2016, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The 2017 Premature Birth Report Card also indicates that mothers and their babies face an increased risk of premature birth according to the race and region of the country.
Stacey D. Stewart, president of the March of Dimes, indicated that this index worsened in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and among all racial / ethnic groups.
“This is an inadmissible trend that requires urgent attention,” he said.
In contrast, they remained unchanged in three states (Alabama, Arizona and Washington) and improved in only four states (Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wyoming).
Among the 100 cities in the country with the highest number of births, according to 2015 data, Irvine (California) had the lowest rate of premature births (5.8%) and Cleveland (Ohio) had the highest (14.9%).
African-American women are 49% more likely than white women to have preterm birth, a percentage that is reduced to 18% more in the case of women from indigenous peoples and Alaska Natives.
Babies who survive a premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) often have serious health problems throughout their lives, including respiratory problems, jaundice, loss of vision, cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, in addition to the loss of life, premature births represent a medical and social cost of more than 26,000 million dollars a year.
To counter this situation, the March of Dimes calls for expanded scientific research to identify the unknown causes of premature births and find new ways to avoid them.
In this regard, he stresses that living and working conditions, such as health care, housing, neighborhood security, food security and wages, have a “profound” influence on births.
The organization calls for increasing educational campaigns aimed at women of childbearing age and health care professionals and promoting policies that prioritize the health of mothers and babies.