Preterm Birth Rate in Florida Increases to 10 Percent
Florida’s preterm birth rate increased slightly to 10 percent in 2015 from 9.9 percent in 2014, according to the 2016 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report. The state received a “C” grade on the annual report.
“Despite promising programs and some localized improvements, this year’s report shows additional steps need to be taken in Florida to give more babies, especially those in specific communities, a healthier start to life,” said Dr. Karen Harris, March of Dimes Florida Maternal and Child Health Committee Chair. “The issue of preterm birth has become too common and too accepted in all of our communities.”
The U.S. preterm birth rate increased for the first time in eight years, also resulting in a “C” grade for the nation.
The report also stated what it called “an unfair burden of premature birth among racial and ethnic groups as well as geographic areas.”
The report cited variations is preterm birthrates is different Florida counties and races. For example, the rates range from 9.3 percent in Palm Beach County to 11.2 percent in Duval County. Among black women in Florida, the preterm birth rate is 46 percent higher than the rate among all other women in the state.
In the United States, preterm birth accounts for more than $26 billion annually in avoidable medical and societal costs. The March of Dimes says It will take a multi-faceted, innovative and collaborative approach to address the unfair toll premature birth has on mothers and babies.
The March of Dimes supports eight evidence-based interventions to help reduce the preterm birth rate in communities with the highest burden of preterm birth. One such intervention, stop pregnant women from smoking, has demonstrated considerable success in reducing preterm births. The organization said although tobacco use is a known contributor to preterm birth and other adverse birth outcomes, one in 10 women continue to smokes while pregnant.
In Florida, the March of Dimes recently convened a Prematurity Summit bringing together community leaders from high-need areas to create localized action plans to reduce preterm birth in their communities. The summit also focuses on creating equity in birth outcomes at the community level by collaborating with many partners from across the state.