LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana has one of the highest premature birth rates in the country, according to a recent report.
Louisiana is one of six states to receive an F grade, according to the 2019 March of Dimes’ annual report card on preterm birth. Nationwide, the average grade is a C. Preterm births are births before 37 weeks.
“So, overall if you look at the March of Dimes data, it appears that the south has a higher risk of preterm delivery," said Dr. Uzma Naeem, OB/GYN. "I think a big part of this is the population that is making up that demographic.”
She cites various reasons for preterm births, including obesity, smoking, and even socioeconomic status. The largest reason is having a previous preterm delivery.
Calcasieu Parish has had an increase in preterm births since last year.
“But, overall if you look at the state of Louisiana, it’s high in comparison to the rest of the country," Naeem said.
There is one thing, though, that Dr. Naeem says that expecting mothers can do to decrease premature births.
“Just kind of getting an overall picture of your health, and just getting in with an OB/GYN before you get pregnant, is always going to be better for the pregnancy,” Naeem said.