The month of November marks Prematurity Awareness Month. Each year, the March of Dimes releases the Premature Birth Report Card during the month to provide an update on how each state is performing in regards to premature birth.
The 2016 Report Card looks at data from 2014 and grades each state based on that data. Tennessee received a grade of D and is ranked 45th in preterm birth, showing that a great deal of progress is to be made in improving birth outcomes for families in the state.
Shelby County’s preterm birth rate is 12.5%, compared to 10.4% in both Davidson County (Nashville) and Knox County (Knoxville) and 12.1% in Hamilton County (Chattanooga). The overall state rate is 11%.
In Tennessee, there are marked racial and ethnic disparities in preterm birth as well, with 14.2% of births to black mothers being preterm while 10.4% of births to white mothers are preterm.
The Shelby County Health Department works diligently to address factors that contribute to preterm birth by providing education and services for families to make sure that moms carry their babies to full-term.
For the March of Dimes’ full report card for each state, click here.