Mississippi Has a Very High Rate of Premature Births

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Updated: 11/05/2013 8:27 pm
Mississippi’s premature birth rate is much higher than the rest of the nation. The state received an F grade. Seventeen percent of the babies in Mississippi are born prematurely. Some experts believe the high rate of premature births comes from the lack of access to health care and insurance, high rates of smoking, and low public knowledge about pregnancy. Alisha Ware, an OBGYN, says, “Mississippi has a higher rate of preterm birth and we don't know why. Other factors are smoking and low maternal weight, or very young or very old mothers.” Denise Thompson, a certified nurse midwife, says, “We need to do a better job at educating women and getting them into prenatal care. Don't wait until later in pregnancy. At that point, a lot of the risks are so well established that there's not much we can do about them.” The rate of premature birth is declining however. It is down from 19 percent in 2006. The goal of March of Dimes is to get every state below 10 percent by 2020.

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