CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – For the first time in six years the March of Dimes is reporting a drop in the pre-term birthrate in the U.S.
Interestingly enough, although March of Dimes is reporting that drop in pre-term birth rates in their 2021 report card they still give the U.S. a C- grade. The March of Dimes tracks mother and baby health in the U.S.
They say that even though there was a slight drop in preterm birth rates, it increased for Black and Native American women.
“Because it’s so at the systemic level it really requires intuitional change at a greater level,” Chloe Schwartz, March of Dimes Massachusetts Director of Maternal Infant Health told 22News. She said that generational wealth disparities in Massachusetts limits some women in communities’ abilities to receive and seek adequate prenatal care.
A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby’s estimated due date. In other words, a premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature babies, especially those born very early, often have complicated medical problems.Mayo Clinic
March of Dimes also found that in general, maternal deaths and women suffering from severe health complications due to pregnancy are continuing to rise. Over the last 30 years, deaths from pregnancy-related causes have more than doubled, accounting for the deaths of more than 700 women in the U.S. every year, making the U.S. one of the most dangerous developed nations to give birth.
“10% of women in Massachusetts still are not receiving adequate prenatal care and what that means is they’re either not going to receive care in the first five months of pregnancy or they’re missing at least half of the recommended appointments,” Schwartz said.
What’s a silver lining in the report is that although the U.S. received a “C” minus, Massachusetts is one of only three states to receive a “B”. “Massachusetts is a healthcare hub as you know, we typically have ranked in the top 50 percent across the US in comparison to other states for quite some time,” Schwartz continued.
March of Dimes in response to the maternal death racial disparity, is advocating for the Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 which aims to fill the gaps in existing legislation to improve health outcomes.