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Study finds the number of premature births in the US has increased 

According to a report by the CDC and Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of preterm births in the US has steadily risen in recent years. 

The CDC researchers looked at data from birth certificates that recorded single births registered in the United States from 2014 to 2022.

For the report, the researchers analyzed data from birth certificates of single births in the US between 2014 and 2022. They found that the number of births before 37 weeks of gestation rose from 7.74% to 6.67 over the time period – an increase of 12%. 

This could lead to more health problems for both mothers and infants. For example, babies born before full term may experience immediate health challenges such as difficulties in immune response, respiratory issues, and digestive complications due to their incomplete development. 

Over time, preterm infants may also face conditions like asthma, dental problems, hearing impairment, and persistent concerns regarding intellectual and developmental delays. Additionally, pregnant women may encounter health complications if they undergo early delivery.

The rise was observed across various demographics, irrespective of age or race; however, Black and Hispanic mothers exhibited a higher likelihood of early childbirth compared to White mothers. Additionally, older mothers tend to have a greater predisposition to deliver prematurely compared to their younger counterparts.

The researchers didn’t give any suggestions about the factors influencing this trend. Generally, physicians lack precise insights into why certain individuals experience premature birth. However, some conditions and factors appear to elevate the risk, such as stress, anxiety, lack of support, poor nutrition, obesity, and environmental factors like exposure to pollution. 

Ellie Ragsdale, a specialist in ob/gyn-maternal and Fetal Medicine at University Hospitals in Cleveland commented: “It’s certainly something that is multifactorial. My initial reaction to the study is that preterm birth rates continue to rise in this country because Americans globally, as a whole, are getting sicker.”

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