Report reveals Chicago’s premature birth rate exceeds national average

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Chicago scored a D in the March of Dimes 2015 ranking of pre-term birth rates in six large Illinois cities. The city has a premature birth rate of 10.4 percent in comparison to the United States’ overall rate of 9.6 percent. Joliet had the state’s lowest rate of 9.6 percent, while Peoria received an F for a high pre-term birth rate of 11.9 percent.

The nonprofit organization is launching the pilot program “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” in Illinois as part of its nationwide campaign to reduce the number of premature births. Prematurity is a leading cause of death among newborns. It can also result in lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, mental disabilities and developmental issues. While a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, premature babies are those that are delivered before 37 weeks of gestation.

Premature births can occur due to known risk factors such as smoking, diabetes and hypertension, as well as pregnancy-related conditions including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. There are a number of signs that indicate the heightened chances of a premature delivery.

It is the physician’s responsibility to recognize the signs and take the necessary steps to help a mother who is at risk of delivering prematurely. In many cases, the proper medical measures and prenatal care can help prevent premature births. Doctors can be liable for a premature newborn’s birth injuries or health problems if they fail to correctly monitor the mother, undertake prenatal testing or diagnose medical problems.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago birth injury lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit www.briskmanandbriskman.com.

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