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Prematurity: California gets a C, the nation a D

November 18, 2009 |  6:05 pm

 PremieThe March of Dimes has just released its 2009 Premature Birth Report -- and California continues to do badly. Its premature birth rate is 10.9%, up from 10.7% in 2008. It gets a C.

The nation as a whole, which has a pre-term birth rate of 12.7%, got a D.

Prematurity is the No. 1 cause of newborn death and is linked to complications such as learning, behavior and feeding problems, as well as a heightened risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Even late pre-term births (34 to 36 weeks instead of the full-term number of 40) raises risks. Elective cesarean sections have caused the rates of late pre-term birth to rise in recent years.

Read the report at the March of Dimes website.

--Rosie Mestel

Photo credit: Loyola University Medical Center via Getty Images