More than 10% of babies born in Florida in 2017 were born too soon, earning the state a “C” on the Premature Birth Report Card, released today by the March of Dimes. The overall U.S. preterm birth rate rose to 9.93% of births in 2017 from 9.85% in 2016, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Preterm birth— before 37 weeks gestation– is the leading cause of infant death in the first month of life. Babies born prematurely are at higher risk of mortality and morbidity, as well as developmental delay. FL MIECHV sites that provide services to mothers prenatally annually report the number of babies born preterm. Preterm birth rate is considered a system measure since it is influenced by a myriad of social and community factors beyond home visiting. In 2018, FL MIECHV sites reported a preterm birth rate of 10.7%, compared to 12% in the prior year.
Home visiting programs funded by MIECHV address preterm birth by focusing on key risk factors associated with prematurity and other poor birth outcomes. These risk factors include perinatal depression, intimate partner violence (IPV) and tobacco use during pregnancy. Performance on these measures by sites implementing one of three FL MIECHV-funded evidence-based home visiting models (NFP, HFF or PAT) is tracked annually and reported to HRSA.
The March of Dimes will hold its annual Florida Prematurity Prevention Summit September 29-30 at the Tampa Westshore Hilton. Register now to hear national speakers and learn more about community-based efforts to reduce preterm birth. FL MIECHV is a sponsor of the conference.