Experts say US premature births are down slightly in 2020 but this is no cause for celebration


For the first time in six years, the annual report found that the rate of premature babies in the United States is slightly lower from 2019 to 2020.

But health experts sayAt least reform is no reason for celebration.

Pre-natal birth rates in the US are down 1% from 10.2% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2020, according to a report published Monday by the nonprofit March of Dimes, which works to improve the health of pregnant women. And infants.

But the report found that black and American Indian / Alaskan Native preterm births were on the rise. The rate of black preterm births increased American Indian / Alaskan Native Prenatal Birth Rate Increases from 14.25% in 2019 to 14.36% in 2020 11.55% to 11.61%

The incidence of black preterm births was approximately 50% higher than that of white or Hispanic pregnant women, which was 9.1% and 9.8%, respectively.

“It’s easy to get happy over this slight decrease in the overall preterm birth rate,” Dr. Said Zsakeba Henderson, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes. “But the groups that were most improperly impacted, they weren’t down. They were on the rise.”

Since 2014, the incidence of black preterm births has increased by 7.8%; The rate is 11.1% higher among American Indian / Alaskan Natives, according to the report. Although prenatal birth rates in Hispanics have fallen by 1.4% from 2019 to 2020, they have seen an 8.2% increase since 2014.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preterm birth is when a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. By 2020, premature births will affect 1 in every 10 babies born in the US

According to the CDC, infants, especially those born before 32 weeks, have more death and disability, including respiratory problems, eating disorders, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, vision problems and hearing problems. In 2019, premature birth and low birth weight accounted for approximately 17% of infant deaths a year before.

The March of Dimes has released its annual report card since 2008. According to the organization’s scoring criteria, “A” is a birth rate of 7.7% or less, and “F” is a rate of 11.5% or more.

Overall, the US has earned a “C-” for its 10.1% premature birth rate.

“For the first time in six years, the report card showed a slight drop but the grade we assigned the country to is still C-,” said Stacy D. Said Stewart, CEO and president of March of Dimes. “The decline from 10.2 to 10.1 is not really a celebration.”

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The report card shows that premature births have deteriorated in 13 states, with Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico earning “F”. Only one state – Vermont – earned an “A”.

Researchers have found little improvement in about 33 states, Stewart said, but many have stayed away from the 8.1% target set by the March of Dimes in 2008.

“It’s an ambitious goal but … it’s an achievable goal,” he said. “We are one of the richest countries in the world. Why are we achieving one of the worst outcomes in the world in terms of moms and babies?”

After Vermont, 12 states earned “B +” through “B-“, 18 states earned “C +” through “C-“, and 12 states earned “D +” through “D-“. The wide range of prenatal birth rates among states states that health experts do not have a solution to the problem.

“There are not enough biological reasons for me to think within the US about why we have such profound differences between states,” Dr. Emily Miller, associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and head of obstetrics at Northwestern Medicine, is unrelated to the report. “So this may reflect some of our policy differences or unequal access to quality care across states.”

The report card included three new measurement instruments that examine factors that contribute to the health of infants and pregnant women: low risk cesarean births, social vulnerability index, and midwife and doula care law and policies.

According to the report, the US low-risk C-section rate was 25.6% in 2020. Since 1985, the World Health Organization has estimated the ideal rate of C-section births between 10% and 15%.

The March of Dimes defines a low-risk C-section as occurring at 37 weeks or more during pregnancy, which involves a baby in a headfirst position.

“We focus on low-risk because we expect them to be uncomplicated and not surgically delivered,” Henderson said. “We know that the incidence of C-section births in the US has increased dramatically and this has contributed to illness, illness and pregnancy complications.”

An observational study published in the peer-reviewed journal CMAJ in 2019 found that women who have C-sections have 80% more complications than those who have had vaginal deliveries. Women over the age of 35 who have C-sections are nearly three times more likely to have severe complications.

The March of Dimes also includes an index of social vulnerability at the county levelIncludes socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, housing type and transport.

“Mapping social vulnerability across the United States and comparing that map with their preterm birth rates teaches us a lesson,” Miller said. “We need to put that lesson into action by focusing on the mitigation of some of the paths from social vulnerability to preterm birth.”

The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed and exacerbated these social impairments, health experts say, and they should be addressed to reduce premature birth rates.

“This is especially true for women before, during, and after pregnancy,” Stewart said.

Follow Adriana Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Health and patient safety coverage is made possible in part by a competition grant from the Massimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Healthcare. The Massimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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