Number of premature births up in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) —  A new report released by the March of Dimes says more infants in the state of Mississippi are being born before the mother’s full pregnancy term.

According to the annual March of Dimes premature birth report card, 38,000 infants are born before the full 38 weeks of a mother’s pregnancy, prompting them to give Mississippi an “F” grade.

Experts want to ensure that new moms are informed about what they will face over the course of their term to make sure that every baby born is full term and healthy.

“There are a lot of developments still happening in those last two weeks of pregnancy,” said Wengora Thompson, Director of Maternal and Child Health for the Mississippi March of Dimes. Some of which include the baby’s brain and vision.

March of Dimes also added that Mississippi’s pre-term birth rate hovers at 13.6 percent, which is high than last year’s number.

In the metro areas of Rankin and Madison counties, they had a slight increase in pre-term birth rates. Hinds County had more pre-term births than the year before.

Thompson urges mothers to take full control when it comes to their health, especially when it comes down to issues like pre-existing conditions and high blood pressure.

“She suggests the group prenatal care model as one aspect of the pregnancy that can help ensure mothers make it to the full term. Rather than mothers doing prenatal care one-on-one, a group of 10-12 mothers would spend time together to discuss matters like breastfeeding, sleep, and nutrition. And if done, the group prenatal care model can reduce the chance of premature birth by 33 percent.

“Our health is more than just ‘I went to see the doctor’, Thompson said. “Our health is influenced by where we live, where we work, how we work, where we go to school, what type of education we receive, access to health care. It’s impacted by all of those things.”

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