Preterm birth rate still high in Virginia - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Preterm birth rate still high in Virginia

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Too many babies are being born too soon.  That was the message today in a report from the March of Dimes.  Virginia's number got better this year at 11.3 percent, but most cities and counties in our coverage area are still much higher than that. 

One in eight babies is born premature. That's a scary statistic considering that premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and even babies who survive often face lifetime health challenge. 

In Virginia, 11.3 percent of babies are born early, before their lungs, brains and other organs are fully developed.  The overall rate in Virginia is lower than last year, but lots of places your familiar with are still seeing much higher numbers. 

Here's a breakdown: Richmond's rate is 16.2 percent. Chesterfield's is 12.5 and Henrico's 14.3. In Hanover, the number is 12.9, Petersburg is the highest at 18, and New Kent one of the lowest in our region at 11.6 percent.

Susan Brown, a Neonatologist at Henrico Doctor's Hospital says, "it's a concern for all of us, for our friends, for our families, for the impact that it has on our school systems and just the cost for medical care."

Jeff Ricketts, VP of Anthem says, "preterm births cost this country over $26 billion annually, so the cost are significant, and the cost of a preterm birth are about 12 times what it costs for a normal delivery."

The good news is raising awareness can help make these percentages lower across the board.  Some preterm cases cannot be prevented but advocates believe many can.  First by encouraging pregnant women not to smoke. A shocking one in five still do. 

They also want uninsured women to get to doctors earlier so problems can be detected.  There are a number of low-cost programs available in almost every community. 

Finally, women should postpone elective C-sections and induced labor to at least 39 weeks.  Health experts say every day in the womb reduces the chance of a serious problem.

Ricketts says, "I can't imagine if someone knew what they could be doing to their baby that they wouldn't continue doing that so education is key."

The CDC has a goal of nationally reaching a premature birth rate of 7.6 percent. We are likely years away from reaching that number.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'Heartbroken' Kenworthy visits South Korean dog meat farm

    'Heartbroken' Kenworthy visits South Korean dog meat farm

    Friday, February 23 2018 3:05 AM EST2018-02-23 08:05:09 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:06 AM EST2018-02-23 12:06:20 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, left, and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas watch dogs in cages at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea. Kenworthy saved five stray dogs during the S...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, left, and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas watch dogs in cages at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea. Kenworthy saved five stray dogs during the S...

    The Associated Press joined American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy on a tour of a Korean dog meat farm that's about to be shuttered by the Humane Society International.

    More >>

    The Associated Press joined American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy on a tour of a Korean dog meat farm that's about to be shuttered by the Humane Society International.

    More >>
  • Florida man yells 'murderers!' as he's executed for slaying

    Florida man yells 'murderers!' as he's executed for slaying

    Thursday, February 22 2018 8:24 PM EST2018-02-23 01:24:33 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:47 PM EST2018-02-23 04:47:48 GMT
    (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP). This undated photo made available by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows Eric Scott Branch in custody. Florida is scheduled to execute Branch Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, for raping and killing a ...(Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP). This undated photo made available by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows Eric Scott Branch in custody. Florida is scheduled to execute Branch Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, for raping and killing a ...

    Florida inmate yells 'murderers!' repeatedly as he's executed for his convictioin in 1993 rape and killing of a college student.

    More >>

    Florida inmate yells 'murderers!' repeatedly as he's executed for his convictioin in 1993 rape and killing of a college student.

    More >>
  • Sheriff: School officer never went inside to confront gunman

    Sheriff: School officer never went inside to confront gunman

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:14 AM EST2018-02-22 06:14:16 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:28 PM EST2018-02-23 04:28:03 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Mourners hug as they leave the funeral of Alaina Petty, in Coral Springs, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.  Petty was a victim of Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, ...(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert). Mourners hug as they leave the funeral of Alaina Petty, in Coral Springs, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Petty was a victim of Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, ...

    The students who swarmed Florida's state capitol in the wake of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre face pushback in Legislature.

    More >>

    The students who swarmed Florida's state capitol in the wake of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre face pushback in Legislature.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly