COLORADO SEES FIVE-YEAR IMPROVEMENT IN PRETERM BIRTH RATE
Colorado Receives “B” on March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card
DENVER, Nov. 13, 2012 – Colorado earned a “B” on the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card, an improvement from 2011’s “C,” giving more babies a healthy start in life and contributing to the five-year improving trend. Colorado earned the grade for its preterm birth rate of 10.3 percent, 1 percent better than last year. The news comes just prior to World Prematurity Day, celebrated across the globe on November 17.
“We’re proud that our state’s preterm birth rate is improving, thanks to the work of the March of Dimes and our partners. Colorado’s progress means that more babies are being born healthy, excess health care costs are being reduced, and families are being spared the heartache of having a baby born too soon. Despite this progress, there is more work to be done because in Colorado, one in 10 babies are born too soon,” said Kathryn Marshall, state director of the March of Dimes Colorado chapter.
To continue this progress for mothers and babies, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has joined in support with the March of Dimes with a goal to reduce premature birth by at least 8 percent between 2009 and 2014.
Statewide, the March of Dimes Colorado Chapter is supporting Clinica Family Health Services, Clinica Tepeyac, Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Hilltop Community Resources, Peak Vista Community Health, and Salud Family Health Centers, among others, to help women have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. The March of Dimes Colorado Chapter and the Children’s Hospital Colorado have partnered for ten years to offer support to families in crises with babies too small or too sick to leave the hospital. The March of Dimes is also working with the Colorado Perinatal Care Council and other partners to reduce the number of non-medically indicated inductions and deliveries that occur before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
“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 Marshall.
Preterm birth, birth before 37 completed 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 other issues.
Premature Birth Report Card grades are based on how a state is progressing toward a national premature birth health goal of 9.6 percent by 2020. The March of Dimes assesses all fifty states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The U.S. overall is also graded. With a premature birth rate of 11.7 percent, a decline of more than 8 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006, the nation earned a “C.”
World Prematurity Day
On November 17, partners from around the world will mark the second annual World Prematurity Day in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The event brings attention to the global problem of premature birth. An estimated 15 million babies worldwide are born preterm and of those more than one million die as a result of their early birth.
Prematurity Awareness is being marked in Colorado with a Town Hall Meeting taking place November 15 at the state capitol to better understand the Colorado’s legislative process and its impact on the health of women and children. Contact the March of Dimes at 303-305-1218 for details about the event. Throughout November, a cause ribbon will hang on the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver to draw attention to premature birth and symbolize hope for a healthy start for more babies.
About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Information on Colorado activities and programs (including the full text of the 2012 Premature Birth Report Card) may be found at marchofdimes.com/colorado.
Editor’s Note: Infographics and visuals are available for this story. In addition, media may attend the November 15th Town Hall Meeting at the state capitol. The event will take place at 7:30 a.m.
Jennifer Dulles, APR, President
DStreet | Defining Public Relations
On behalf of the March of Dimes Colorado Chapter