CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The March of Dimes is giving South Carolina a "D' grade on the number of babies born too early in our state.
This comes one day after the state health department released infant mortality numbers, showing no overall increase in the deaths of babies in 2015-2016.
However, Wednesday's March of Dimes report shows the number of preemies born in our state went up. The March of Dimes says South Carolina's preterm birth rate is higher than one year ago, at just over 11 percent.
Premature birth, or birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is the leading cause of the death of babies in the U.S. The March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card indicates mothers in this state are more likely to have premature births, based on their race and neighborhood.
The organization is recommending health care planners concentrate on expanding group prenatal care sites, educating women to wait at least 18 months between babies, teaching women the dangers of smoking, and increasing access to medications which help prevent preterm deliveries.
Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems.
The 2017 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card is based on the latest data from the National Center for Health Sciences.