The Savannah, Valdosta and Dublin areas have implemented evidencebased home visitation programs to provide additional support to high-risk mothers, and other communities, such as Albany, Atlanta, Athens and Augusta, have implemented the Centering Pregnancy model to provide health assessments, education and group support for women.
“We will continue to work together to improve access to health care, help women quit smoking and, through our Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait consumer education campaign, encourage women and health care providers to avoid scheduling a delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary,” said Sheila Ryan, State Director of the March of Dimes, Georgia Chapter.
Grades are based on comparing each state’s and the nation’s 2013 preliminary preterm birth rates with the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preterm birth rate is 11.4 percent, a decline of 11 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006.
The Report Card information for the U.S. and states will be available online at: marchofdimes.org/reportcard.
Premature birth, birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others.
Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.