Minnesota gets a 'B' for premature birth rate, group says


The United States' preterm birth rate is improving, but still lags behind other countries with significant resources – and while Minnesota as a whole is ahead of the curve, some counties, cities and groups of people have lower rates than others.

March of Dimes released its annual "Premature Birth Report Card" Thursday morning.

The grades are based on the preterm birth rate. March of Dimes has a goal to get the nationwide rate down to 8.1 percent – so if a state, county or city is close to or better than that figure, they get a higher grade.

The U.S. as a whole earned a "C," with March of Dimes noting the preterm birth rate of 9.6 percent in 2014 ranks among the worst in the world for "high-resource countries". The year before, the country was at 11.4 percent.

Overall, Minnesota got a "B" grade for its statewide preterm birth rate of 8.7 percent.

The report pulls in even closer, looking at the rate:

By county

The report card pulled the six counties with the greatest number of births.

Olmsted County was the lowest of the bunch, coming in at 6.5 percent. The highest was Washington County at 9.5 percent – the only one of the MInnesota counties to earn a "C."

By city

The 100 cities with the greatest number of live births in 2013 were ranked by preterm birth rate, then given a grade.

Four cities got an "A" grade – meaning their premature birth rate was 8.1 percent or lower. St. Paul is one of them at 8.0 percent. Portland, Oxnard (California), and Seattle are the other three.

A few percentage points behind is Minneapolis at 8.8 percent, one of 26 cities that got a "B."

By race/ethnicity

The preterm birth rate for Native Americans was found to be the highest in Minnesota among racial/ethnic groups, at 11.6 percent. The Asian population had the lowest figure, at 7.6 percent.

March of Dimes takes each group's preterm birth rate, then compares it to the lowest group's average from 2011-2013. The difference is measured with what March of Dimes calls the "disparity index." Minnesota's disparity index ranked 32nd in the country – meaning 31 states had less disparity between different racial/ethnic groups, according to March of Dimes.

How do you prevent preterm births?

A preterm birth is the birth of an infant before 37 weeks of pregnancy, the CDC says.

It's the greatest contributor to infant death, and also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children, according to the agency.

So how do you prevent preterm birth?

Risk factors for having a preterm birth include already having a premature baby, getting pregnant too soon after having a baby, being pregnant with more than one child (so twins, triplets etc. etc.), or having a uterus/cervix problem," U.S News and World Report wrote.

There are other steps you can take, including not smoking while pregnant, and avoiding using alcohol or illicit drugs, the CDC says. Stress and high blood pressure during pregnancy can also play a factor.

Other characteristics of those who are more at risk of premature births include when the person is on the younger or older side for getting pregnant, or has low income/socioeconomic status, the CDC says.

Next Up

Sergio Romo

Twins decline 2021 option on Sergio Romo

The Twins begin a potential overhaul in the bullpen.

high school football

'Scalpel approach' gives MN schools chance to keep playing sports

County infection rates are no longer the only thing that matters.


With the help of HVAC, Circus Juventas will host its first holiday shows

After months of canceled classes and shows, Circus Juventas is hosting its first ever holiday show, with safety precautions.

Cameron Dantzler

Vikings send Cameron Dantzler to COVID-19/reserve list

Dantzler's placement leaves the Vikings paper-thin at cornerback heading into Green Bay.

peterson fischbach

Elections 2020 preview: 7th Congressional District

Will Collin Peterson hang on for yet another term?

Zimmer and Hunter

Zimmer explains why he called Hunter's neck injury a 'tweak'

The coach also said Dalvin Cook should return from injury this week.


60 charged in magazine scam that netted $300M

It's being called the largest elder fraud scheme in the country.

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 10.30.23 AM

The Star Tribune is shutting down City Pages

The free newspaper was bought by the Star Tribune in 2015.

billy's on grand

Coronavirus: Billy's on Grand will close for winter

The restaurant is among a growing list of eateries to close for the winter months.


Minnesota among states with the lowest teen birth rate

The number of teen pregnancies in the U.S. reached its lowest point on record in 2010. In fact, the CDC reports births by mothers of all ages dropped for the third straight year. Minnesota had the 8th lowest rate per 1,000 teenage girls.

Fewer births in Minnesota

Minnesota birth rates are at their lowest level since 2002. Officials say the economic recession has convinced more couples to delay having children.

Minnesota gets $4M to review health insurance rates

Minnesota was one of 29 states to receive the funding which will be used to study rates and expenses -- as well as help residents better understand their policies. The study will also create three new jobs.