The nation’s rate of preterm birth—the largest contributor to infant death in the United States -- increased again in 2016, after nearly a decade of decline, earning the nation a “C” grade on the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.
The rate of preterm birth rose in states across the country for a second year in a row. More than 380,000 babies are born preterm in the U.S. each year, facing a greater likelihood of death before their first birthday, lifelong disabilities or chronic health conditions. An additional 8,000 babies were born prematurely in 2016 due to the increase in the preterm birth rate between 2015 and 2016, the March of Dimes says.
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