Florida continues to get poor marks for premature births

shutterstock_32776084Pre-term birth rates, high smoking rates and lack of insurance continue to drive Florida’s poor birth outcomes and led to another “D” grade on the March of Dimes 2014 Premature Birth Report Card.

Florida received one of the worst grades in the country — it was one of two states that received a “D” grade, while three states and Puerto Rico received an “F” grade. The grades were based on the pre-term birth rate in comparison to the goal of 9.6 percent. In Northeast Florida, none of the counties reached the goal percentage:

Pre-term births NEFL

Source: Florida CHARTS 2013 

Uninsured women, smoking and late pre-term birth rates — births between 34 and 36 weeks — are all identified as contributing factors that prevention efforts should be focused around.

Smoking is a priority area of both the Project IMPACT annual report and the Healthy Start Coalitions across the state. According to the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review,  the percentage of moms who had a fetal or infant death that self-reported tobacco use was 12 percent in 2012. It rose to 15 percent in 2013. Self-reported tobacco use in the 2013 birth cohort was 6.9 percent.

The Healthy Start program has implemented the SCRIPT an evidence-based smoking cessation program for pregnant women. The Community Action Team has also launched a community-wide anti-smoking campaign as a result of the Project IMPACT recommendations, holding several contests for youth to develop logos and public service announcement videos on the dangers of smoking.

The March of Dimes publishes grades each year during Prematurity Awareness Month, comparing each state’s rate of preterm birth to the Healthy People 2020 goal of 9.6 percent. Prematurity is a leading cause of newborn death and can lead to lifelong complications.