By Northern Plains News
The seven-year improving trend in South Dakota’s preterm birth rate helped give more babies a healthy start in life and contributed to the improvement in the national rate, according to a recent report card by the March of Dimes.
South Dakota’s preterm birth rate was 10.7 percent in 2013, down from 12.7 in 2006, the year the national rate peaked. South Dakota again earned a B on the report card.
The national preterm birth rate fell to 11.4 percent in 2013 – the lowest in 17 years -- meeting the federal Healthy People 2020 goal seven years early. Despite this progress, the nation still received a “C” on the annual report card and still has the highest rates of preterm birth of any high resource country.
In South Dakota, the rate of late preterm births is 10.8 percent, the rate of women smoking is 26.4 percent and the rate of uninsured women is 16.9 percent.
These factors contribute to improved infant health in South Dakota, according to the March of Dimes:
- Reducing the percent of uninsured women of child-bearing age
- Lowering the late preterm birth rate.
- Reducing the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke.
These improvements mean not just healthier babies, but also a potential savings in health care and economic costs to society, according to the group.
Grades are based on comparing each state’s and the nation’s 2013 preliminary preterm birth rates with the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preterm birth rate is 11.5 percent, a decline of 10 percent from the peak of 12.8 percent in 2006.