A new report shows Nebraska is making some progress when it comes to lowering the rate of babies born prematurely.
The March of Dimes released its 2012 Premature Birth Report Card last week. Nebraska received a “B” on the report card due to mixed results in two areas. While the percentage of late preterm births dropped, the percent of women without health insurance rose from 15.5 percent last year to 16.8 percent this year.
Mary Larsen, Program Services Director for the March of Dimes of Nebraska, says women need access to quality health care even before they become pregnant. “If they have problems with diabetes, or high blood pressure, or other medical issues, those can’t be addressed before they get pregnant. And then if they do not have insurance, what happens is they often don’t seek medical care until later in their pregnancy and any other medical issues that they might be having can’t be addressed until far in to their pregnancy.”
The report card says 22.4 percent of Nebraska women ages 18 to 44 smoke cigarettes every day. Larsen says that raises a woman’s risk of having a premature baby.
The Report Card for Nebraska is available online at www.marchofdimes.com.