Premature births rise to highest levels since 2007

The U.S. preterm birth rate increased to 10.5% in 2021, the highest rate in 15 years, according to the March of Dimes 2022 Report Card. Persistent racial disparities across maternal and infant health measures compounded by the pandemic made the U.S. among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. Black and indigenous women are 62% more likely to have a preterm birth, and their babies are twice as likely to die compared with white women. In 2021, preterm birth rates for Black mothers increased from 14.4% to 14.7% and from 11.6% to 12.3% for Native American/Alaskan Native mothers. While Asian women saw a 3% decline in births, they had the largest increase at 8% in preterm births compared with all other women. Along with the report, the March of Dimes released a “mamagenda” to advance maternal health equity. (March of Dimes news release, 11/15/22)