According to a recent white paper report on premature births worldwide by the March of Dimes, North America (Canada and the United States combined) has the world’s second-highest premature birth rate in the world at 10.6%, second to Africa’s 11.9% of preterm births each year. It was also reported that the rate of preterm birth in the United States has increased 36% in the last 25 years.
The report, which used data collected by the World Health Organization, identifies preterm birth as an increasingly serious and costly issue affecting individuals, families and health care systems and stresses that interventions are needed now. The report is scheduled to be published in 2010 as the March of Dimes Global Report on Preterm Birth. The published report will also examine opportunities for prevention and care of the high-risk mother and preterm infant, among other program, policy and research recommendations.
At MOMS Orange County, Maternal Child Health Coordinators screen to identify pre-term risk factors at each home visit. These risk factors include high blood pressure, nutrition, body weight, tobacco and alcohol use and women who have or are at risk of developing gestational diabetes. In 2008, MOMS Orange County clients had reduced rates of premature births, with 8.4% babies born preterm compared to California’s rate of 10.7%, and Orange County’s rate of 9.2%.*
*2006 Birth Data – March of Dimes