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Annual Report Card: Preterm Births Increase In Indiana


An annual report card finds more babies are being born prematurely in Indiana. This year’s analysis digs deeper into the relationship between this factor and infant and maternal mortality.

Preterm birth is the largest contributor to infant deaths in the U.S. According to the report from the March of Dimes, rates in Indiana are up to 10.2 percent. That gives the state a grade of C-, slightly lower than the national average.

President and CEO of March of Dimes Stacey Stewart says the average cost of a preterm birth is $63,000.

"So it’s not as if there are not costs being born every time we fail to make sure women and babies have adequate and affordable access to coverage," says Stewart. 

In Indiana, African-American women are 41 percent more likely to have a preterm birth.

Policies that have been adopted to address infant and maternal mortality include review committees. Another policy recommendation including Medicaid expansion, which Indiana has done. 

But Stewart says many women drop off Medicaid soon after delivery, ensuring coverage for a full year would also address maternal health.

"That would help to support many women who need access to substance use support, access to managing health related challenges that may have been exacerbated as a result of pregnancy and childbirth," says Stewart.

Marion County receives the worst grade at D-. Hamilton County the best at a B.

Contact Jill at jsheridan@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @JillASheridan.

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