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Campaign begins to reduce premature birth rate in Kansas

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 8, 2013, at 5:41 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the March of Dimes are teaming up in an effort to reduce the rate of premature births by 8 percent by the end of 2014, the KDHE announced in a news release.

According to the release, the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card shows Kansas’ rate is 11.2 percent, and the 8 percent reduction would bring the state to 10.3 percent, or about 350 babies.

Preterm birth is birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

The state will begin an educational campaign with the March of Dimes to encourage pregnant women to carry to term and to wait until labor begins on its own instead of scheduling an induction, according to the release.

Some of the initiatives include recommendations from the Kansas Blue Ribbon Panel on Infant Mortality, which was formed in 2009.

The KBRP found that Sedgwick, Geary, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties have high infant mortality rates and that there is up to a 2-1 ratio of disparity between infant deaths among blacks and whites. The leading causes were premature birth and low birth weight, birth defects and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

According to the release, some of the recommended initiatives from the KBRP include:

• SIDS Education Initiative

• Fetal Infant Mortality Review

• Kansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative to help improve access to care for women and conduct hospital quality improvement projects

• Becoming a Mom/Comenzando Bien Birth Disparities Programs, which are tailored to educating specific ethnic groups on premature birth.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com.

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