Report: California’s Preterm Birth Rate Hits New 24-Year Low
States with a preterm birth rate of 9.6% or lower received an "A" grade (Doheny, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/6).
The Preterm birth rate in California fell from 9.6% in 2013 to 8.8%, marking the sixth consecutive year that the state has lowered its rate and a new 24-year low.
Specifically, one in 11 babies -- or 44,329 -- in California was born preterm.
The report card found that preterm births in California decreased by:
- 27% among women who smoke;
- 7% among late preterm births; and
- 3% among uninsured women.
Karyn DeMartini, March of Dimes California director, said, "California is the leader in developing the resources that health care providers across the country are using to reduce medically unnecessary early elective deliveries and to assess preterm labor" (March of Dimes release, 11/5).
Nationwide, the preterm birth rate dropped to 11.4% of all births in 2013 -- the lowest rate in 17 years, NPR's "Shots" reports (Shute, "Shots," NPR, 11/6).
The U.S. reached the federal Healthy People 2020 goal on preterm births seven years ahead of schedule, but fell short of a 9.6% target set by the March of Dimes.
Overall, the U.S. received a "C" grade, with the number of preterm births falling from 542,893 babies in 2006 to about 450,000 in 2013.
The other states receiving an "A" grade were:
- New Hampshire;
- Oregon; and
According to the report card:
- 20 states received a "B";
- 20 states received a "C";
- Two states and Washington, D.C., received a "D"; and
- Three states and Puerto Rico received an "F" (Brooks, Medscape, 11/6).
The report card noted that preterm birth rates varied by race. For example, the rate was:
- 16.5% among black women;
- 11.6% among Hispanic women; and
- 10% among white and Asian women ("Shots," NPR, 11/6).
Overall, 27 states improved their preterm birth rates between 2012 and 2013, according to the 2014 report card (Medscape, 11/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.