March of Dimes sets goal for reduction of pre-term births: 9.6 percent

Following years of a Prematurity Campaign and the recent launch of a new campaign aimed at reducing scheduled pre-term births, the March of Dimes has set a goal to bring the percent of early births down to 9.6.

Currently the rate of pre-term births nationwide is 12.2 percent — amounting to over half a million babies.  Prematurity is a leading cause of infant mortality; for babies that make it to their first birthday, they often have life-long medical conditions.

The March of Dimes plans to achieve the goal by maximizing results from smoking cessation programs, progesterone treatments for medically eligible women, lowering the number of pregnancies from infertility treatments that result in multiples and preventing medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy. The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalition is currently working on a campaign, funded by the March of Dimes, to address the latter.

The March of Dimes originally aimed for the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing premature birth to 7.6 percent of all births. The new Healthy People 2020 objective is 11.4 percent.