Tennessee sees improvement in pre-term birth rate

Tennessee sees improvement in pre-term birth rate

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"We are mired in the lower 5 to 10 percent of health in women, so as we improve our mothers health, we will improve our prematurity rate," said UT Director of NiCU Dr. Mark Gaylord. "We are mired in the lower 5 to 10 percent of health in women, so as we improve our mothers health, we will improve our prematurity rate," said UT Director of NiCU Dr. Mark Gaylord.
"I would hope that medicine gets better," said Carrie Chadwick. "It has already from 2006 to 2013. It's a world of difference." "I would hope that medicine gets better," said Carrie Chadwick. "It has already from 2006 to 2013. It's a world of difference."

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee has once again scored a 'C' grade on the nation's Premature Birth Report Card.

The March of Dimes and UT Medical Center released the results of the 2012 report card Monday morning. Just six years ago, the state scored the lowest grade of 'F'.

Carrie Chadwick gave birth to her second premature son Lincoln two weeks ago. He has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UT ever since.

"It's kind of overwhelming," said Chadwick. "My first child was 31 weeks, but Lincoln was 33 weeks, and he had a bowel issue."

Carrie maintained a healthy lifestyle during her pregnancy, and even took medication to prevent a pre-term birth. That's not the case with many Tennessee mothers.

That's why doctors in the NICU say the state scored a 'C' grade again this year with a pre-term birth rate of 12.5 percent.

"There has been a decrease in late pre-term births, those babies between 34 and 37 weeks," said Director of NICU Dr. Mark Gaylord. "Also, we've seen a decrease in uninsured mothers, but unfortunately our C grade was maintained due to an increase in women smoking."

Doctors say those habits and others in mothers across Tennessee need to improve in order to join the six other states with an 'A' grade.

"We are mired in the lower 5 to 10 percent of health in women, so as we improve our mothers health, we will improve our prematurity rate," said Gaylord.

Gaylord says good prenatal care and planned pregnancies are also key to a healthy outcome.

Healthy mothers like Carrie are counting on improvements in the medical field.

"I would hope that medicine gets better," said Chadwick. "It has already from 2006 to 2013. It's a world of difference."

Until then, she says she's thankful that she and other pre-term mothers have organizations like the March of Dimes to help them through.

According to the national report card, there are only seven other states with grades lower than Tennessee's.


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