Report says premature birth rate is down

For the first time in 30 years, the number of premature births in the U.S. is down.

According to the March of Dimes, even at 12.3%, the rate of premature births is still too high.  They attribute this to the popularity of C–sections which can now be scheduled, if need be, before what's considered pre–term.  Dr. Jenna Fiala is an OB-GYN and says, “before, we didn't schedule anything, so I've got to do it when it's safe.”

Fiala says doing a C–section early requires sticking a 10 inch needle into the womb to extract fluid for testing.  If the tests show the baby's lungs have matured, then delivery is a go.  But she says far too often, early delivery is the only option.   “If a mom comes at 28 weeks and her blood pressure is at 200 over 110 and she's at risk of stroking, I'm not going to wait for the baby to mature another 10 weeks.  I'm going to deliver her, because I have to think about mom, too.”

The March of Dimes report showed Nebraska was keeping pace with the national drop in premature births.  The goal of the March of Dimes is to have the national average at 7.6 %.

Fiala says that's an unrealistic goal.  “About 10% to 12% of all deliveries are probably going to occur, for some reason, prematurely.  And that's not our goal, we would like to lower it, but I think there are variables in life that we just cant overcome.”