KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Despite Modest Improvement, Premature Birth Rates Cause Concern

A new report from the March of Dimes gives the U.S. a 'C' in preterm birth rate reductions.

Kaiser Health News Capsules blog: U.S. Lowering Rate Of Premature Births, But Slowly
The United States is slowly reducing its rate of premature births, bringing the rate to 11.7 percent in 2011, but the figure is still higher than public health advocates believe it should be. The updated figures come from The March of Dimes, ...  It gives the U.S. a ‘C’ in overall preterm birth rate reductions. ... In a report released earlier this year, the March of Dimes noted that the U.S. ranks 131 out of 184 countries — putting it close to countries such as Somalia, Thailand and Turkey (Kulkarni, 11/13).

Georgia Health News: Ga. Improved On Preterm Births, Still Gets Low Grade
Georgia lowered its preterm birth rate last year, but the state still received a "D"’ grade on the annual preterm birth report card released Tuesday by the March of Dimes. The reduction of Georgia's preterm birth rate – from 13.8 percent to 13.2 percent – is part of a national trend. Forty states saw improvement in their rates between 2010 and 2011 (Miller, 11/13).

MPR: Minn. Launches Effort To Prevent Early Birth
A new Minnesota birth campaign seeks to dispel the notion that it's safe to schedule an elective delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Approximately one in 10 babies born in Minnesota is premature. Some of those preterm births are unavoidable, but health officials believe many mothers are giving birth through Caesarean sections or induced labor earlier than they should, causing unnecessary health problems for some newborns (Benson, 11/13).

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