March of Dimes observes Houston's high rate of premature birth

Houston residents have a lot to be proud of, but there are some statistics that show the city may be lacking in certain key areas. The rate of premature birth, for example, is actually relatively high in Houston, a fact which may surprise some locals, as the metro area is generally perceived as being family-friendly. Still, According to the March of Dimes, Houston had the tenth-highest rate of premature birth in 2013.

Houston's rate of premature birth was 10.3 percent of births in 2013; the national average was 9.6 percent. Houston's 2013 rate, in addition to being higher than the national average, was also higher than the average in Texas. Why was the city's rate of preterm birth so relatively high? It's not known for certain, but preterm birth, generally defined as birth occurring before the 37th week of pregnancy, is linked to certain health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. In addition, preterm births also tend to occur more often when mothers are very young and lack access to care, or when mothers who are older and seeking fertility treatments.

Premature birth can cause a host of problems for a baby, from infections to respiratory distress syndrome. Unfortunately, preterm birth is also the number one cause of infant death. In some cases, a baby's premature birth may have been prevented through proper care and pregnancy monitoring. Lack of prenatal care has been cited as one of the reasons why Houston's premature birth rate is so high. A professor at Baylor College of Medicine has noted that areas with high preterm birth rates were also areas in which women averaged fewer prenatal visits than in areas with lower rates of premature birth.

A Houston birth injuries lawyer can help a family affected by a preventable premature birth. The medical expenses incurred by a premature birth can be staggering; in Harris County, Texas, the average cost of a birth that comes too early is about $40,000. Seeking legal advice from a birth injury lawyer can help a family obtain compensation for injuries stemming from a preventable premature birth.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "High premature birth rates linked to obesity, care access," Markian Hawryluk, Nov. 5, 2015

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Categories: Birth Injuries