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Michigan gets a "C" on premature birth report card

Nov 6, 2015

Credit Sarah Hopkins / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan got a "C" on the latest Premature Birth Report Card from the March of Dimes.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Michigan's 2014 premature birth rate was 9.8%.

Kara Hamilton-McGraw with March of Dimes Michigan said that's an improvement from the previous year.

"We're still not at the March of Dimes goal which is 8.1 percent by 2020, but we're lowering our rate every year. I find that very encouraging," Hamilton-McGraw said.

Hamilton-McGraw said many people still don't realize pre-term births can mean serious complications, even for babies born a couple of weeks early.

"[They can] develop asthma because their lungs weren't developed when they were born; their brain isn't fully developed, so there can be learning disabilities; blindness is also very common," she said.

The report also included data for individual Michigan cities.

Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Sterling Heights and Warren all had preterm birth rates worse than the statewide average.

Michigan ranked 12th in the nation on the report's disparity index, which measured pre-term birth rates between racial and ethnic groups in each state.