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Published on November 5th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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SC MAKING STRIDES, BUT STILL RECEIVES A “D” ON MARCH OF DIMES PREMATURE BIRTH REPORT CARD

(COLUMBIA, SC – South Carolina earned a “D” on the 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, which for the first time also graded the state’s largest counties.

South Carolina’s preterm birth rate was 10.8 percent in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The March of Dimes goal is for each state to have a preterm birth rate of 8.1 percent or less.

There are areas within the state that are trailing behind the state’s rate, including Richland, Lexington and Horry counties. “Our state is not doing as well as we should in preventing premature births and too many of our babies must fight to overcome the health challenges of an early birth” said Breana Lipscomb, Director of Program Services for the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter. “Premature birth is the number one killer of babies and many of our families still face that fear. There are large gaps in the preterm birth rate between communities in our state, and racial and ethnic disparities persist.”

South Carolina ranked 39 on the disparity index with a score of 32 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.

The US earned a “C” on the 2015 Report Card. Babies who survive an early birth face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays. Reaching the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 8.1 percent will mean that 210,000 fewer babies will be born preterm and achieving the 2030 goal will mean 1.3 million fewer babies will be born preterm, saving about $70 billion, based on March of Dimes estimates.

The March of Dimes says it recognizes that continued research to identify new medical advances to prevent preterm birth is necessary in order to reach the new goal. The organization has invested in a nationwide network of five new prematurity research centers to find the unknown causes of this still too-common problem and potential solutions.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Download the Go Purple for Preemies Toolkit at marchofdimes.org/southcarolina.

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