Preterm birth can cause many health problems in preemies, but recently it was found that no matter were the premature child is born, they have a higher risk of mortality or disability according to six global studies. Comparing boys to girls when born premature, studies have also found that girls seem to have the upper hand. Girl preemies develop faster in the womb than boys, as their lungs and other major organs are more than likely to be further developed. Even more disturbing is that the preterm birth rates for boys is 14 percent higher than girls before 37 weeks in these recent studies.
Women that are pregnant with boys seem to have several more health problems, such as placental complications and pre-eclampsia (which involves high-blood pressure difficulties) that causes a high rate of preterm birth in boys. The preemies can have some serious health concerns that include long-term disabilities, leading to learning problems, motor problems, deafness, blindness and sometimes cerebral palsy. The preterm birth rate is improving in the United States, but remain behind with much higher rates compared to other industrialized nations.
The United States may be lower in preterm birth rates, but overall we get a grade of ‘C’ from recent research. In 2012, the preterm birth rate lowered to 11.5; this drop makes it an all time low over the past 15 years. The preemie birth rate has actually dropped to 10 percent since reports from 1998. Some states received A grades for lower preterm births, such as Main, Alaska, New Hampshire, California, Vermont and Oregon. The states that received a failing grade were Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Statistics show that Vermont had the lowest preterm birth rate, while Mississippi had the all time failing rate. 35 states and Washington have lowered smoking issues within pregnant women that can lead to further premature births.
What improvements are being used to lower the rate of preterm births? For one thing, educating mothers on the dangers of smoking during pregnancy is an obvious one. It is with high hopes the new Affordable Care Act will extend more health insurance coverage to prevent babies from being born too early. The March of Dimes seems to have high expectations and predicts another two percent drop next year as well.
Another important step that the U.S. Senate has put into play is the passage of a bill that helps to reduce infant deaths and disabilities by making research, education and intervention more readily available. The U.S. Senate claims this new bill will help save lives from premature birth and deaths due to complications. The bill, called The Preemie Bill, helps to put a stronger spotlight on premature births. Sadly, it remains the leading cause of death among newborns. The preemie bill has many organizations who support newborns and preemie births including the March of Dimes, The American Academy of Pediatrics and many agencies. The bill was passed with two additional provisions; one is to encourage more research into pediatrics and the other is to help fund for the care of chimpanzees owned with the Chimp Act at the National Institutes of Health.
By Tina Elliott