Indiana is improving its rate of premature births. The March of Dimes gives our state a “C” in its most recent annual report card with an 11.9 percent preterm birth rate. Last year, Indiana earned a “D.” Indiana’s latest grade matches the U.S. — which also received a “C”.
Tim Arndt with the Indiana chapter of the march of dimes credits the better letter grade, in part, to a drop in the number of Hoosier women smoking from about 27 percent to 23 percent over the past year. But Arndt says some premature births cannot be prevented.
“There tends to be a tendency for blaming the mom, and the fact is a woman can do everything right and still have a baby prematurely, sick, and suffering from birth defects,” he says.
Arndt also notes fewer women are scheduling elective inductions prior to 39 weeks. Preterm refers to any birth that occurs before 37 weeks and it‘s a leading risk factor for newborn death in the United States. The March of Dimes graded states by comparing each state’s rate of premature birth to the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent.