The March of Dimes has released its annual Premature Birth Report Card, and the results are not good for much of the country.
The report finds the premature birth rate has risen for the third year in a row, translating into a “C” grade for the United States.
“The overall rate in this country for premature birth is just shy of ten percent, but in certain areas of the country, it’s particularly worse,” said the March of Dimes’ Stacey D. Stewart.
States like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia all have premature birth rates over 12 percent, earning a failing grade in the new report.
Experts say statistics on women of color are concerning. The report shows the preterm birth rate among black women is nearly 50 percent higher than the rate of all other women.
“We have to do more in this country to make sure that women have access to the right care before they’re pregnant, during pregnancy, and we have to make sure that those babies are protected and healthy and whole when they’re born,” Stewart said.
Vermont was the only state to receive an “A” grade in the annual report.
Statistics for all states, as well as for larger cities, can be found on the March of Dimes website.