Pennsylvania gets ‘D’ on premature births

    When it comes to preterm birth prevention Pennsylvania receives a “D”. The March of Dimes released it’s annual Prematurity Report Card today and the state is still in trouble. While the early birth rate did drop for the first time in 30 years, the number of women going into labor before 37 weeks about double the goal of eight per 1000  births. Neonatologist Jay Greenspan is with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He has been working with the March of Dimes since the early 1990s.   He says the poor and uninsured are at the greatest risk for preterm pregnancies. In Pennsylvania, the number of uninsured women went up this year. Greenspan calls it a national embarrassment. He said, “It goes up drastically in the inner cities to the point where were really looking at infant mortality rates that are the same in the inner cities as they are in some third world countries.” Over 500,000 preemies are born nationally each year.  Medical advancements make the chance of a premature baby living much better.  Director of Fetal Medicine at Jefferson University Hospital Dr. Vincenzo Berghella said babies born as early as 24 weeks have a 50 percent change of survival, but their quality of life is dismal. Vincenzo said the long term suffering of these babies is what he wants to warn people about.  Preterm births are still high because of a lack of prenatal care. He believes the health care system is a business and it all comes down to money. He said, “ That’s where we failed. We failed in implementing prevention because prevention, unfortunately in our system, doesn’t pay as well as taking care of a sick baby” Berghella said placing one baby in intensive care can cost over a million dollars.

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