State improves on premature birth rates

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Colorado’s grade for premature births has improved – but still needs better results.

The March of Dimes gives Colorado a “C” grade for the number of premature births in the state – the first time the state’s ranked above a “D” since the group started publishing premature birth rates.

Om 2008, Colorado’s prematurity rate was 12.2 percent, but now 1,200 more babies are being born full-term, according to March of Dimes statistics.

The March of dimes also tracks progress of factors that lead to premature births: lack of health insurance, women smoking and late premature births due to elective induction of labor or cesarean sections. Since the first birth report card was issued, the percentage of uninsured women has gone from 1 percent to 18.4 percent, women smoking from 19.8 percent to 15.4 percent and late premature birth from 8.9 percent to 8.1 percent.

In the United States, premature birth is estimated to have an annual cost of $26 billion.

Overall, the nation also received a “C” grade, as did 18 other states. Only Vermont received an “A” grade. The grades were given from information from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Behavioral risk Factor Surveillance System.

A series of legislative changes gave Colorado women more access to care, primarily through Medicaid. Smoking cessation programs offered by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment continue to be promoted and other advocacy groups have raised awareness about the need to evaluate elective labor induction.