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Medical News & Perspectives
January 13, 2010

US Preterm Births: “D” Is for Dismal

JAMA. 2010;303(2):116-117. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1895

Too many infants in the United States are born too soon, according to recent reports from the March of Dimes and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). But even though some solutions may seem clear-cut—reducing smoking rates among pregnant women and improving access to prenatal care, for example—experts say the highly complex reasons for prematurity still are not well understood.

In its second annual Premature Birth Report Card, the March of Dimes in White Plains, NY, gave the United States an overall grade of “D” in recognition of the more than 540 000 infants born annually before 37 weeks of gestation (http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_map.asp). The country also earned a “D” on last year's report card.

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