News from the FDA/CDC

Preterm birth rate ‘is on the rise again’


After several years of decline, the incidence of preterm births in the United States “is on the rise again,” according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Changes in preterm birth rates fo 2014 to 2016
The preterm birth rate – the percentage of infants born before 37 weeks – rose from 9.57% in 2014 to 9.63% in 2015 and then to 9.85% in 2016, which works out to about 3% overall. The rate had dropped from 2007 through 2014 after rising since early 1980s, Joyce A. Martin, MPH, and Michelle J.K. Osterman, MHS, of the NCHS reproductive statistics branch said in a Data Brief.

That 3% increase was spread pretty evenly: 23 states and the District of Columbia experienced statistically significant increases from 2014 to 2016, and 22 other states also had increases, although these were not statistically significant. One state, Iowa, had no change; three states – Montana, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – had nonsignificant declines, and Wyoming was the only state with a statistically significant drop (16%) in preterm birth incidence, they said based on data from the National Vital Statistics System.

The largest increase, 12%, was seen in the District of Columbia, followed by Idaho and North Dakota at 10% and Arkansas, New Mexico, and West Virginia at 9%, the researchers reported.

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