After Years of Decline, Premature Births Rose in the U.S.

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New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed a rise in premature births between 2014 and 2022, which is in contrast to the previous decline in prematurity. Specifically, researchers noted a 12% increase in births before 37 weeks gestation, with the greatest increases in premature birth being seen in pregnant mothers aged 30 and over. This is concerning because the risk of survival drastically decreases with each gestational week that is lost due to preterm birth. While explicit reasons for this trend are not detailed in the report, physicians have theorized that this rise in prematurity corresponds to the steady increases in comorbidities like hypertension and gestational diabetes. Maternal age is also increasing, and an increase in maternal age is inherently tied to complications that could cause premature delivery. The study also found few differences in premature birth rates across racial and ethnic groups, despite previous findings that preeclampsia and hypertension disproportionately impact Black communities.

To read the full article from Alisha Haridasani Gupta of The New York Times, click here. 

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