A new report from the March of Dimes found that while there have been improvements in the nation's preterm birth rate, there's much more work to be done.
The national preterm birth rate is about 9.5 percent, earning a grade of "C" in the March of Dimes' latest report card. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to early birth or its complications. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.
Portland, OR earned an "A" for its low preterm birth rate of 7.2 percent. St. Paul, MN and Seattle also received A's.
Shreveport, LA's preemie birth rate is close to 19 percent, earning a failing grade.
"No baby should have to battle the health consequences of an early birth. All babies, everywhere deserve a healthy start in in life," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.
Experts say continued research to identify new medical advances to prevent preterm birth is necessary in order to reach the goal of lowering the national preterm birth rate to 8.1 percent by 2020.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day (WPD) is November 17th.
Check out how each state did on the March of Dimes prematurity report card: click here.