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March of Dimes: Iowa has a Premature Birth-Cesarean Connection

December 3, 2008

Des Moines, IA – More than 10 percent of all births in the United States are premature, and one national group says many of those are through unnecessary Cesarean procedures. Lisa Houchins with the Iowa Chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network says the state didn't do well on the March of Dimes 2008 Premature Birth Report Card.

"Iowa actually got a 'D' on that because we have so many preterm births; many of those are happening with what they call late preterm births, between thirty-four and thirty-six weeks."

Giving birth just a week or two early by c-section may seem minor, but Houchins says that's a crucial time for an infant's development.

"The liver is still developing, the brain is still developing, and many other organs are still growing, and a lot of that growing is better done still in the mother."

Houchins says that means passing up c-sections if there is no medical reason for one. According to the latest statistics, Iowa had a 28 percent c-section rate. The World Health Organization believes half of all Cesareans could be prevented.

Dick Layman/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - IA