Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  


Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

Daily Newscasts

Slight Setback in Tennessee as Premature Births Rise

PHOTO: The preterm birth rate in Tennessee rose slightly in 2013, ending six straight years of declines in the number of babies being born too soon. Photo credit: Heather/Flickr.
PHOTO: The preterm birth rate in Tennessee rose slightly in 2013, ending six straight years of declines in the number of babies being born too soon. Photo credit: Heather/Flickr.
November 19, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After dropping for six years in a row, the latest figures show the preterm birth rate in Tennessee inched back up in 2013. According to Phil Toothman, director of marketing and communications with the March of Dimes in Tennessee, while the rate grew to 12.6 percent last year, there's still been much progress. That includes a dramatic reduction in the number of women being induced early without medical need.

"It used to be pretty common for women, who were just tired of being pregnant, and they would go and ask the doctor at 36, 37-weeks if they could go ahead and induce," says Toothman. "A lot of times, the doctors would say that it's okay. So we've pretty much put a stop to that in Tennessee."

The March of Dimes is leading the campaign to reduce the nation's preterm birth rate, with a goal of 9.6 percent or less by 2020.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who survive often face the risk of serious and sometimes lifelong health issues. Toothman says that's why every extra day in the womb is important.

"There's a lot of lung, heart and brain development that happens between 34 and 39 weeks that people just don't know about," he says. "So it's very important and we're really proud of the campaign and we are making progress in Tennessee."

Often, the specific cause of premature birth isn't clear, but factors that may increase the risk include smoking, some infections and some chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN