Florida improves pre-term birth rating — from an “F” to a “D” grade

Prematurity Awareness Month

Florida earned a “D” grade from the March of Dimes for its premature birth rate — an improvement from the “F” it has received for several years in a row.

The March of Dimes publishes grades yearly, using data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Prematurity is a leading cause of newborn death and can lead to lifelong complications.

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month.

The rate of babies born prior to 37 weeks in Florida decreased from 13.8 percent in 2008 to 13.5 in 2009.States are graded by comparing their individual rate of premature birth to the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 9.6 percent.

While the rate of uninsured women in the state increased, there were improvements in women smoking and late pre-term birth rates (34-36 weeks gestation).

There are three states — Louisiana, Missippi & Alabama — and one territory — Puerto Rico — that still have “F” grades. Only Vermont received an “A” grade.  The nation as a whole — with a premature birth rate of 12.2 percent —  was given a “C” grade.

Florida Stats:

  • Goal: 9.6%
  • Rate: 13.5%
  • Grade: D

Find out more information about the March of Dimes’ 2011 report card here.