Preterm birth is defines as birth at 20 to 37 weeks of pregnancy wherein the baby is not fully developed and equipped to survive on its own says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
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. Compared to 2016, preterm birth rates in 2017 worsened in 30 states, stayed the same in 6 states and improved in 16 states. The CDC says that they are at risk of vision and hearing problems as well as cerebral palsy. Babies born prematurely have higher risks for developmental problems later in life.
The data show that the preterm birth rate in the U.S.is on the rise for the third year in a row, at 9.93 percent in 2017. And if they even if they don't appear in childhood, they may show up in early adulthood'. "The rates are going in the wrong direction in the state".
"We assign grades to the country and to different states for their rates of premature birth", explained March of Dimes President Stacey Stewart.
The organization released its eleventh annual Premature Birth Report Card Thursday.
The only state in the country to get an A was Vermont.More news: Squatter wins Sydney home after 20 years
Unequal access to healthcare and maternity care remains a big issue in the disparities between states, Stewart said.
On an individual level, there are a few things women can do to lower the chances they'll have a premature birth.
Women of color are up to 50 percent more likely to have preterm deliveries. A recent March of Dimes report revealed the unequal access to maternity care across the United States, particularly in communities with higher poverty rates.
The risk of having a premature baby also depended on the mother's race and ethnicity. The report shows the preterm birth rate among black women is almost 50 percent higher than the rate of all other women.
A 2004 study from Northwestern University and the University of IL found that the stress of racial discrimination put African American women at a higher risk of low birth weight, preterm infants.
In 2007, the state formed a special task force charged with lowering preterm birth rates, says Dr. Ailis Clyne, the medical director at the Division of Community Health and Equity at the Rhode Island Department of Health.More news: Cubs pick up Hamels' option, trade Drew Smyly to Rangers
'Research shows that there is some intersection between racial discrimination/bias and that could be affecting health, ' said Stewart.
March of Dimes identified several areas to improve the health of moms and babies, including improving access to preventive and supportive care, group prenatal care, advancing research and advocating for policies that protect moms and babies.
Although the cause for this difference is unclear, some doctors speculate it could be because chronic illnesses such as obesity and hypertension - both of which are pregnancy risk factors - are higher in black women. For example, "unequal access to maternal care, and high poverty rates", increase a mother's risk of delivering prematurely, she says.
'We're asking for everyone to get involved in what we are referring to as a "blanket change agenda",' she said. "It means we're not taking care of our moms and babies".
Structural discrimination, says Hardeman, can determine where someone lives, their education and income levels, amenities they have access to, including health care facilities.More news: Where to go: Bonfire Night 2018 in West Leeds