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Georgia better but still failing on premature births

The state of Georgia improved over last year’s marks on the March of Dimes’ annual premature birth report card, but still earned an “F.”

Georgia’s preterm birth rate dropped to 13.4 percent in 2008, making it one of 32 states to improve in the recent report, but not enough so to change its grade.

“We hope that this improvement in the preterm birth rate is the beginning of a trend, and we’re proud to see that the March of Dimes investment in Georgia is reaping benefits for moms and babies,” said Sheila Ryan, the March of Dime’s Georgia director.

“Our Georgia chapter supports research, local community grants, NICU family support programs, education projects and advocacy initiatives that work to prevent preterm birth and help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.”

Each week in Georgia, approximately 400 babies are born too soon before their lungs, brains or other organs are fully developed, the March of Dimes estimated.

Positive factors that helped improve Georgia’s preterm birth rate were reducing the percentage of childbearing age women who smoke and lowering the late preterm birth rate.

In Georgia, the rate of late preterm births is 9.4 percent, the rate of women smoking is 16.7 percent and the rate of uninsured women in 24.3 percent.

For more information on the study, visit www.marchofdimes.com/fight.