SC receives "F" for premature birth rate

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new report out from the March of Dimes finds that after 30 years on the rise America's premature birth rate is improving, but still way too high.

The same goes for South Carolina. The group has given the Palmetto State a failing grade when it comes to premature births. The state's premature birth rate has improved recently, but not enough to get the state out of the "F" range.

South Carolina's 14.3% percent premature birth rate - a full percentage point better than last year - is still far above the nation's objective of 7.6%.

David Campbell with March of Dimes said the state could be doing more, "You look at certain groups of uninsured mothers of African American population over 20% which that in itself is pretty much not acceptable."

Campbell got involved with the March of Dimes after his nephew was born early and spent the first 90 days of his life in NICU.

"We have 9,500 babies each year in South Carolina that are born premature and to put that into perspective, the cost of a normal full term baby is about 4,000 dollars, the cost of a preemie is 50,000 dollars," said Campbell. "We spend over 28 billion dollars a year due to premature births."

The March of Dimes encourages access to healthcare and smoking cessation classes for expecting moms, to help their babies arrive healthy and right on time.

Click here to get involved with March of Dimes.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. RNN contributed to this report.