Preterm birth rates have increased in the US
Almost 10 per cent of US-born babies are born prematurely and the prices of premature babies are rising, a new government report shows.
Also, more low birth weight babies were born last year than in previous years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Friday.
With half of all U.S. Births covered by Medicaid, these rates would be worse if Congress cuts back on the program, said advocates. Medicaid covers 75 million people, including nearly 36 million children, according to data released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.
Already the United States has much worse rates of infant mortality, premature birth and low birth weight babies than other industrialized countries. The new data from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show no improvement.
"The increase in the premature birth rate is an alarming indication that the health of pregnant women and babies is going in the wrong direction in our country," said Stacey Stewart, President of the March of Dimes, a charity organization focused on the termination of birth defects ,
"Pregnancy is the number one cause of death among babies and a leading cause of life-long disability," she added.
While births fell across the US as a whole, high-risk births were found more frequently, the NCHS.
"The premature birth rate rose for the second year in a row to 9.84 percent in 2016. The low birth weight had also risen to 8.16 percent for the second year," wrote the NCHS team in their report.
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"After the fall of 8 percent from 2007 to 2014, the premature birth has risen for the second year in a row." The United States defines premature births as it happens 37 weeks of pregnancy.
The report looks only at numbers and does not go into the reasons for the premature birth and births with low weight. But a lack of prenatal care, obesity, tobacco consumption and some fertility treatments can all lead to premature births. Adolescents and women who have babies too close together also have higher rates of premature birth.
The NCHS team found that women of Asian ethnic origin had the lowest birth rates at 8.6 percent, while the African-American women had the highest rates with 13.75 percent of all births.
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Washington, D.C., was also included.
States in which 10 percent or more of women received late prenatal care or prenatal care: Arkansas, New Mexico and Texas. In Vermont, only 1.6 percent of women got late prenatal care or no prenatal care.
Only New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont had preterm rates below 8 percent.
Related: Too many babies die on their first day
"It is unacceptable that black women have a preterm birth rate that is about 50 percent higher than the rate among white women.The chance of a baby's survival should not depend on where a baby is born or income, race And ethnicity of their mother, "said Stewart.
The March of Dimes said that the health care bill is currently making its way through Congress can make matters worse.
"As the Senate takes into account the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), we estimate that up to 6.5 million women of childbearing age could lose health insurance. Combined with proposed rules changes, this would mean that less pregnant women receive prenatal care And less premature babies would get the specialized treatment they need to survive and thrive, "the organization said in a statement.
According to the Save the Children, the United States has the highest rate of babies who die on the day they are born in the industrialized world. It says 130 countries have lower preterm birth rates than the U.S.