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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    New York Celebrates Three-Year Improvement in Preterm Birth Rate

    Ruby Wint, March of Dimes, (212) 353-8365, rwint@marchofdimes.com

    Dennis Schrader, March of Dimes, (716) 583-9529, dschrader@marchofdimes.com

    Receives “C” on 2011 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card

    New York, New York, November 01, 2011 —

    The three-year improving trend in New York’s preterm birth rate is re-energizing local prematurity prevention efforts.  Here in New York, the March of Dimes is supporting five CenteringPregnancy® (CP) programs that will increase the amount of time a pregnant mom spends with her healthcare provider, as well as peer support, which will ultimately help more women have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.   

    “Our state’s preterm birth rate has improved this year.  We’re proud of this achievement and what we accomplished by working together with our partners for stronger, healthier babies,” said Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, Senior Vice President and Chair of OB/GYN at Lutheran Medical Center.  “We are determined to continue to find and implement solutions to improve the health of babies, such as improving access to health care coverage, helping women quit smoking, and preventing unnecessary early c-sections, so more babies can get a healthy start in life.”  

    New York State earned a “C” on the 2011 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.  Since 2006, New York’s preterm birth rate has dropped to 12.2 percent.  In New York State, the rate of late preterm births is 8.6 percent; the rate of women smoking is 13.6 percent, and the rate of uninsured women is 17.2 percent. Factors that contribute to preterm birth improved in New York.  It earned a star for the following: 

    • Reducing the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke ¨       
    • Reducing the percent of uninsured women of child-bearing age   
    Quality improvement programs are key to lowering preterm birth rates, according to the March of Dimes.  

    In addition to CP, the March of Dimes New York State Chapter has launched a pilot project-Consumer Education Initiative (CEI) to make women aware of the benefits of letting labor begin on its own.  Through this program, women will now be receiving information and education in a more comprehensive and effective format.  The March of Dimes will also expand its initiative to help hospitals establish a “hard stop” policy to eliminate non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks.  Data shows that this type of policy is critical to making an impact on premature birth.  Finally, the March of Dimes continues to support the New York State Department of Health and its statewide obstetrical-neonatal collaborative to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes.  All of these initiatives take a holistic approach to combat prematurity by focusing on the consumer (patient), healthcare provider, and facility, which are imperative to continued success.   

    The United States received a “C” on the March of Dimes Report Card.  Grades are based on comparing the state’s and the nation’s 2009 preliminary preterm birth rates with the new March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births.  The U.S. preterm birth rate is 12.2 percent down nearly 5 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006.  

    The Report Card information for the U.S. and states is available online.

    Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks completed gestation, 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.  At least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby’s health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.  

    The March of Dimes says its 2020 preterm birth  goal can be achieved by a combination of activities:  giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage,  fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, getting preconception and early prenatal care, progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth.  

    This year, for the first time, a World Prematurity Day will be observed on November 17 by the March of Dimes along with organizations in Africa, Europe, and Australia.  An estimated 13 million babies are born preterm and of those, one million die as a result of their early birth, according to an October 2009 March of Dimes report on the global toll of preterm birth.  

    The March of Dimes has over $8 million in active mission investments in New York State that support research to eliminate birth defects and causes of preterm birth.  In addition, the March of Dimes awarded nearly $430,000 in targeted community grants and awards to local, public, and professional groups that have direct impact on the lives of local families, including three NICU Family Support® programs across the state.

    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.  On November 17, 2011, the March of Dimes and its global partners will observe the first-ever World Prematurity Day to raise awareness that preterm birth is a serious problem worldwide.  For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org.  Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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