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Premature births on the rise - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Premature births on the rise

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The nation's preterm birth rate has increased for the second year in a row.

The March of Dimes reports the United States' preterm birth rate rose to 9.8 percent last year, up from 9.6 percent in 2015, giving the U.S. a report card grade of "C". This comes after a long period of decline.

"It impacts babies all around this country. But what we also know is there is a disproportionate impact on babies of color," said March of Dimes President Stacey Stewart.

Black women are nearly 50 percent more likely to deliver early than white women.

The city with the highest preterm birth rate is Cleveland, Ohio at nearly 15 percent.

Cleveland is also home to Terretha Shannon, whose daughter, Leah, was born at 24 weeks. She's been visiting her in the hospital every day since her birth, three and a half months ago.

"I haven't missed not one day, and I work nights 7p to 7a, so I worked last night, took a shower, took my daughter to school, back here with Leah. When I leave here, got to pick my daughter up, go cook, go back to work," Shannon said.

More than 380,000 babies are born too soon every year in the U.S. and it is the leading cause of death for kids under the age of 5.

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