Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
Recently, the nonprofit March of Dimes released its 2022 Report Card, which found that the U.S. preterm birth rate reached 10.5% of live births in 2021, marking a 4% increase from the previous year’s rate, and the highest rate since 2007 (Source: “A Nonprofit Says Preterm Births are up in the U.S. — and it’s not a Partisan Issue,” NPR, November 15, 2022).
Preterm birth rates increased in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, based on 2021 vitality data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Drilling down, the report only gives one state, Vermont, a score in the A range (meaning its preterm birth rate is between 7.7% and 8.1%). With a preterm birthrate of 10.6%, Ohio received a grade of D+.
The main takeaways of the report are the increase in preterm births and the widening racial disparities in maternal and infant health, says Zsakeba Henderson, MD, March of Dimes’ senior vice president and interim chief medical and health officer.
But there are also some encouraging signs that infant mortality is dropping, and that states are taking action to improve health outcomes. Coming on the heels of the midterms, the report also outlines what policymakers can do to help.