Fewer premature babies were born in New Hampshire in 2012. A new report from the March of Dimes shows the state’s pre-term birth rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.3%. New Hampshire has the 5th lowest rate in the nation.
Births before the 37th week of pregnancy are the leading cause of newborn death.
Doctor Rebecca Ewing with March of Dimes in New Hampshire says statewide efforts to slow elective early births and anti-smoking campaigns are having an impact.
“People really understand that those last few weeks of pregnancy are incredibly important to the baby’s development,” says Ewing.
Babies born prematurely who survive can face long-lasting respiratory and nervous system challenges.
The report finds rates of pre-term birth among minorities in New Hampshire lag behind those of white mothers.