Oklahoma’s preterm birth rate is worsening, March of Dimes report states

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An organization that is working to improve the health of mothers and babies says it is becoming increasingly concerned after a recent report card.

Recently, the March of Dimes released its 2019 March of Dimes Report Card that reveals Oklahoma’s current state of maternal and infant health.

In the report, Oklahoma earned a ‘D-‘ after the preterm birth rate increased to 11.4% compared to 11.1% last year.

“The health of moms and babies in Oklahoma must be a priority issue for all of us. By working together, as individuals and across the public and private sectors, we can make significant changes that can give every mom the care she deserves and every baby the best possible start,” added March of Dimes Oklahoma Maternal and Child Health Director, Belinda Rogers.

When looking at preterm birth rates by counties, the report found the following results:

  • Canadian County at 11.4% (worsened from last year)
  • Cleveland County at 10.2% (improved from last year)
  • Comanche County at 9.7% (improved from last year)
  • Oklahoma County at 11.7% (worsened from last year)
  • Rogers County at 11.8% (worsened from last year)
  • Tulsa County at 11.3% (worsened from last year.)

Officials say Oklahoma City registered a 12.2% preterm birth rate, earning the city an ‘F’ grade.

Click here for the March of Dimes report card.

Overall, preterm birth rates in the United States increased for the fourth year in a row.

In fact, the March of Dimes says the United States is among the most dangerous developed nations in which to give birth. Besides the increasing rates of preterm birth, the rates of maternal death and severe pregnancy complications are high.

“Every American should be alarmed about the state of maternal and infant health in this country because it is an issue that touches each one of us. This is one crisis, not two. The health of moms and babies is powerfully linked, and we need to start treating it as such,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “This crisis is about the moms and babies we have lost, and those who face serious health challenges. It’s not fine. But with your help, it can be. Join us this Prematurity Awareness Month in the fight for all moms and babies.”

Officials with the March of Dimes says they are advocating for a Maternal Mortality Review Committee to help decrease maternal mortality rates, along with implementing programs to screen mothers for risk factors.

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