More babies in Maryland being born prematurely, according to March of Dimes

The rate of Maryland babies born prematurely jumped to 10.5 percent in 2017 from 10.1 percent the year before, according to a report released Thursday by the March of Dimes.

The statistics mirrored a national trend; the overall U.S. preterm birth rate rose to 9.93 percent of births in 2017 from 9.85 percent in 2016. It was the third straight year of increased premature births. Thirty states had a worse rate than the year before.

Complications of early birth, or babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, are the largest contributor to death in the first year of life in the United States, according to the March of Dimes.

African-Americans were more likely to be born prematurely. The preterm birth rate in Maryland among African-American women was 42 percent higher than the rate among all other women.

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