SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The March of Dimes is reporting that pre-term births are on the rise here in the United States, and unfortunately this is a big increase. Pre-term births in the US have hit a 15-year high, and are up across women of all races.

The March of Dimes recently released its report card for 2022, which showed that US pre-term birth rates have increased to 10.5%, a 4% increase in one year and the highest since 2007.

Babies are defined as pre-term if they are born before 37 weeks. Preterm babies face a multitude of health issues, including breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, feeding complications, and long-term neurological impacts.

Doctors say that regular prenatal care is a step toward prevention.

Dr. Corina Schoen, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Baystate Medical Center, told 22News, “Really voice any concerns you have about your medical care to make sure you are fully informed. We want to make sure we are identifying any symptoms of pre-term labor or any complications in pregnancy that can go towards a pre-term birth early. So we can help intervene and if we can’t stop labor at least prepare that baby as much as we can for that pre-term birth.”

Dr. Schoen states that some of the pre-term problems we are facing could be a result of a lack of medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients now are coming in at a greater risk of diabetes and hypertension.

If you are expecting, stay in regular contact with your physician and let them know if you are cramping, bleeding, or have any symptoms of pre-eclampsia.