Preterm birth rate up across Virginia

Rate rose to 9.6 percent in 2016

ROANOKE, Va. – A new report shows preterm births in Virginia are on the rise.

According to the March of Dimes, the rate across the commonwealth rose to 9.6 percent last year. For the second year in a row, it's also up nationwide after nearly a decade of decline.

Delivering a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy increases the likelihood of death before their first birthday, as well as the chances of lifelong disabilities and chronic health conditions.

"This is not something that we can change overnight, but requires just steady solid work implementing the known programs across the state in a way that makes sense for individual communities, hospitals, physician practices, so that we can really begin to address and lower the preterm birth rates in the state," UVA maternal-fetal medicine professor Dr. Donald Dudley said.

Click here to see the full report.

Click here to access the March of Dimes road map to preventing preterm birth.