PA, U.S. not doing well on preventing premature births

    A new report from the March of Dimes gives Pennsylvania and the country a near failing grade when it comes to premature births. WHYY’s Tom MacDonald reports programs are in place to combat the problem.

    A new report from the March of Dimes gives Pennsylvania and the country a near failing grade when it comes to premature births. WHYY’s Tom MacDonald reports programs are in place to combat the problem.

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    Transcript:

    Pennsylvania matched the country’s overall grade of “D” when it comes to dealing with premature babies. Dr. Lorna Friedman of Cigna says there are several issues expectant mothers must deal with to prevent premature births.

    Friedman: “The dental issue in regards to having improved dental care, and improved periodontal care improves your outcomes, we know smoking is a risk factor, we know poor access to care is a risk factor.”

    Melitta Jordan of the Pennsylvania Department of Health says women need to plan for their pregnancy.

    Jordan: “In addition to that is making sure that even prior to pregnancy, that they are getting not only good nutrition. Healthy lifestyle choices also will impact a good pre-natal and a good pregnancy outcome.”

    Michael Gillespie of the March of Dimes shares his own family's story with a premature birth.
    Michael Gillespie of the March of Dimes shares his own family's story with a premature birth.
    Michael Gillespie’s baby was four months early and weighed one and a half pounds at birth, he says there are programs to help mothers, but people don’t know about them.

    Gillespie: “And if the information is out there more, moms will know what to do. They will look for the signs. They will know where to go for help, and this D, next year, I think, can be a B.”

    The March of Dimes plans to work with the state to improve the grade next year.

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