March of Dimes Releases Annual Report
The rate of babies born too soon is down. But still the U.S. only ranks as average when it comes to preventing premature births.
Babies face more risks coming into the world just three weeks pre-term. Their brains and lungs aren't fully developed.
The March of Dimes just released its annual "premature birth report card." The US earned a "C" grade.
In 2009, the nation's birth rate was 12.2 percent - a decrease from a high of 12.8 percent in 2006.
"We believe we can bring that rate down to 9.6 % by 2020," said Dr. Alan Fleischman, the medical director for March of Dimes.
March of Dimes credits the overall improvement in the nation's preterm birth rate in part to fewer elective early deliveries, but the report also notes a decrease in smoking and an increase in health care coverage among women of childbearing age.
Vermont was the only state to receive an "A."