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Florida's Premature Birth Rate Rises; Health Advocates Say That's Troubling

MGN Online

Florida’s premature birth rate is on the increase, and health advocates are hoping to bring awareness to the issue to help lower the leading cause of newborn death.

Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions Project Director Carol Brady says in some cases, the increase of preterm births can be attributed to inducing births in case of a medical emergency. But, she says in recent years the decision when to birth a baby has increasingly been about convenience.

“That’s really women who ‘My mom’s coming into town next week. I think I’ll have this baby. Or the doctor who is going out of town and they’ll say ‘maybe, we’ll just induce on Friday,” said Brady.

The March of Dimes, which is running campaigns to educate about the issue, recently gave the state a “D” after it saw a nearly one-percent jump in the percentage of premature births. It began declining in 2009, and even hit a low of 13 percent in 2011. But, Brady says it's sudden rise to 13.7 in 2012 is troubling.

Brady says women who smoke, and minority mothers—particularly African Americans—are helping to drive the state’s rates.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.