Racial Disparities Remain for Pre-Term Births

Nov 5, 2015

Credit March of Dimes

Iowa earns a grade of C on a report card issued by the March of Dimes.

The rating measures the rate of premature births in the state, and it shows a disparity between the races.

The percentage of babies born before full term in Iowa is 9.3.

For blacks, it’s 11.7 percent.

The state director of programs and advocacy for the March of Dimes, Michelle Gogerty says it’s not clear why this disparity exists.

She says the state chapter is working to do something about it.

“What we’ve done in Iowa is really tried to focus our grants and programs on projects that would serve those women who are in a lower social-economic or African-American or other health diversity," she says.

Overall, Gogerty says, she’s encouraged by the report card.

She says the state is moving in the right direction to reduce premature births.

“Particularly the work we’ve done in the state surrounding early elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy," she says. "We’ve made great strides in that arena and that’s impacted the birth rates positively.”

The national rate for pre-term births is 9.6 percent.