Connecticut's Preterm Birth Rate Increases to 9.4 Percent
March of Dimes downgrades Connecticut from B to C grade in 2016 Premature Birth Report Card
White Plains, N.Y. | Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The March of Dimes has downgraded Connecticut from a B to a C grade in the 2016 Premature Birth Report Card as a result of the preterm birth rate increasing from 9.2 percent to 9.4 percent. The U.S. preterm birth rate also increased for the first time in eight years, resulting in a grade of “C” for the country as a whole.
“Despite promising programs and some localized improvements, this year’s report shows we are losing ground in Connecticut when it comes to giving more babies a healthier start to life,” said Christopher Morosky, MD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ob-Gyn at UConn Health Center, and co-chair, Maternal and Child Health State Committee for the Connecticut March of Dimes. “The issue of preterm birth has become too commonplace and too accepted in our communities.”
The report also revealed an underlying problem: babies have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth. While the March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, this is not the reality for many mothers and babies.
In the United States and Connecticut, preterm birth rates vary across geographic areas and race. For example, among counties in Connecticut where the most babies are born, rates range from 7.7 percent in Litchfield County to 10.1 percent in Hartford County. Although the preterm birth rate for black women declined slightly from 12.5 to 12.2 in this year’s report card, the preterm birth rate for black women is still 36 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. With a multi-faceted, personal approach, communities can address the unfair toll premature birth has on mothers and babies.
The March of Dimes supports eight interventions that when implemented
more broadly in our most-challenged communities, have the ability to reduce the preterm birth rate. One such intervention seeks to reduce the number of women who become pregnant less than 18 months after a previous live birth, since short interpregnancy interval is associated with increased risk of premature birth.
Recognizing birth spacing as an opportunity area for women in Connecticut, members of the Every Woman Connecticut Learning Collaborative are finding creative ways to integrate pregnancy intention screening and pre-/interconception health counseling into routine care as well as within community settings. An initiative of the Connecticut Maternal and Child Health Coalition, in collaboration with the Connecticut Women’s Consortium with support from the March of Dimes, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and the Connecticut Hospital Association, Every Woman Connecticut brings together teams of clinical and community partners from eight communities across the state to learn more about optimal birth spacing and effective strategies to improve how pre- and interconception care is delivered.
Each program participating in Every Woman Connecticut is adapting the implementation of pregnancy intention screening efforts based on the local culture, existing systems, and resources, while strengthening local referral networks and improving the lives of mothers and babies through culturally-relevant approaches.
“With broader awareness and implementation of programs like inter-conception care, we can achieve March of Dimes’ goal to lower the preterm birth rate to 8.1 by 2020,” said Dr. Edward R.B. McCabe, March of Dimes Chief Medical Officer. “America leads the world in medical research and care, yet the U.S. preterm birth rate still ranks among the worst of high resource nations. This is unacceptable, but fixable. Our immediate actions will help give all babies a better tomorrow.”
Join the March of Dimes at marchofdimes.org where you can explore prematurity and disparity in your own state; sign up to raise awareness on World Prematurity Day, and support programs and groundbreaking research attacking the causes of prematurity.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.