Minn. receives low marks for premature birthsby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota earned a "C" grade in a new report from the March of Dimes that measures premature birth rates across the nation.
Babies born prematurely often develop problems.
The state's rate of 10.7 percent is lower than the national average of 12.7 percent. But the March of Dimes says Minnesota could do much better.
The organization has urged all states to try to reduce their pre-term birth rate to 7.6 percent by 2010.
Dr. Kirk Ramin is a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the University of Minnesota, Fairview. He said Minnesota's pre-term birth rate would go down considerably if doctors resisted pressure to perform C-sections before 39 weeks gestation.
"You know you have to stop yourself and say, okay well she is really uncomfortable, maybe I'll just deliver her next Monday. And then when I roll her out I'll realize she's 38 weeks and I have to stop myself and say you know what, I better not do that," Ramin said.
Ramin says his hospital and some others have established policies that forbid unnecessary C-sections before 39 weeks gestation.
An average full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.