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Science, Health, Tech

Delaware receives a C on premature birth report card

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Delaware has received a C grade on a premature birth report card issued by the March of Dimes.

Preterm birth can result when mothers have high blood pressure or diabetes. Behaviors like smoking and illegal drug intake can also cause early labor.

The organization ranks states and counties based on a disparity index. 9.3 percent of births are preterm in the First State. But among African American babies, that number is higher - at 12 percent. Preterm births among white babies are lower, at just 8.6 percent.

March of Dimes spokesperson Pam Armstrong says the new information also indicates her organization should focus more resources in New Castle County, which received the lowest grade in the state, and on women of color.

"What we try to do is educate women and providers on all the important things that mothers can do. For instance, eating healthy, not smoking, not taking drugs, seeing their healthcare provider," she said.

Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey all received a grade of C. Many states in the Southeast, including  Louisiana, received an F. In Delaware, Sussex County received an A, and Kent County received a B.