Heartland gets average ratings on premature birth report card - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland gets average ratings on premature birth report card

Cody Page holds his newborn daughter. Tynley Page was born weighing only 5 pounds. Cody Page holds his newborn daughter. Tynley Page was born weighing only 5 pounds.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Chances are you know someone who's had their baby way before their due date.

According to the March of Dimes, in Missouri one tenth of babies born each year are premature.

The March of Dimes says that's too many.

However, preterm birth rates are on the decline in Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois.

Of the three, Missouri has the lowest at 11.3 percent, and Kentucky the highest at 12.6 percent.

Nationwide, the preterm birth rate dropped for the sixth consecutive year in 2013.

Doctors say the southeast Missouri area faces a unique challenge.

"Those high risk factors like smoking, poor prenatal care, poor access to insurance, and poor nutrition, southeast Missouri of the 10 poorest counties in the state of Missouri 7 of them are are here so it's a real challenge in this part of the state but even here we are making some progress," St. Francis neonatologist Karlyle Christian-Ritter said.

The March of Dimes reports premature birth is the number one killer of newborn babies.

Even the ones that are born just a few weeks early are at a higher risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.

"Even that small degree early at 36, 37, 38 weeks, they are at much higher risk for learning disabilities, for chronic long term developmental problems, there's a lot," Christian-Ritter said.

The March of Dimes reports every year, more than half a million babies are born too early in the United States.

Ashley Page brought Tynley into the world at just 33 weeks.

"I started to feel really bad in the office and he sent me over to have evaluations by 5:54 I was in section having a baby," Page said. "I wasn't even induced he just automatically sent me to section have a baby I was about to have a seizure."

Giving birth that early was something she never expected, especially after having a healthy little boy two years before.

"We weren't allowed to hold her, your not allowed to, you have to put pressure on the bottom and pressure on her head you're not even allowed to rub or touch," Page said. "So those kinds of things are hard when you're expecting to have a baby and ship off home and be able to do what you want."

Some of the risk factors for premature birth include:

  • smoking, 
  • being overweight, 
  • not getting the right nutrients, 
  • poor access to health care,
  • and a lack of health insurance.

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