Premature births improve dramatically in Indiana

State receives a 'B' preterm birth grade

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is faring better than its neighbors when it comes to premature birth rate.

In a report released Friday morning, the March of Dimes said Indiana's preterm birth rate is 10.9 percent, earning the state a "B" grade.

Since 2009, the Indiana preterm birth rate has fallen 8.4 percent. Indiana is one of four states who achieved a goal of reducing premature births by at least 8 percent from 2009 to 2014.

"We're at a 15-year low right now of the number of babies being born preterm," said Tim Arndt, of the March of Dimes. "Over the last six years, 176,000 fewer babies have been premature because of the progress we've made."

The March of Dimes credits several successful programs with reducing premature births, defined as births occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

All of the states surrounding Indiana received a "C" grade. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Puerto Rico all received failing grades.

Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon, California and Alaska all received an "A."

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