March of Dimes

The rate of babies being born early is going up across the country. There were 8,000 more preterm births in the U.S. last year than the previous year, and Jacksonville’s rate is worse than the country’s.

The rate of babies born premature in Florida and around the nation increased in 2015 according to the recently released March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card

The March of Dimes has  issued its 2015 report card on early births across the country and Florida gets bad grades for its premature birth rates.

The state earned a C this year for having a premature birth rate of 9.9 percent—just about one in every 10 babies born in Florida. The March of Dimes goal is 8.1 percent.

A quality-improvement project carried out by hospitals in Florida and four other large states triggered a rapid and dramatic drop in early elective deliveries, according to a study published Monday.

Unless there's a reason for concern, it's best to let pregnancies progress until labor occurs naturally -- usually in the 39th, 40th or 41st week of pregnancy,  past research has shown. And yet doctors, patients or both sometimes jump-start labor or opt for surgical birth in the 37th or 38th week.