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Father playing with baby.

Better Starts for All aims to give all moms and babies the opportunity to thrive by tackling some of the most complex issues facing our society today, from access to prenatal and postpartum care, to premature birth and maternal mortality.

Over the next three years, we aim to develop sustainable programs that improve the lives of pregnant women across the country by increasing access to quality healthcare for pregnant women and new moms and decreasing preterm birth.

Better Starts for All is increasing access to care in maternity care deserts through mobile health services, Supportive Pregnancy Care, provider coalitions and virtual education.

Pregnancy related deaths have more than doubled in the U.S. over the past 25 years. Two women will die from pregnancy-related causes today and every day. Two babies die every hour in the U.S.

Maternal mortality is rising in the U.S. as it declines elsewhere

Graph of maternal mortality comparing U.S. to other developed countries.

A National Health Crisis
Access to Maternity Care

150K

Babies are born to women living in maternity care deserts-counties with no hospital offering obstetric services and no OB providers

About 10M

Women live in counties with limited access to care - few hospitals offering obstetric services, OB providers and a high proportion of women without health insurance

More Than 300K

Babies are born in counties with limited access to care

Maternity Care Deserts Are A Problem For All Of Us.

Having good quality and on-time health care services can help women have healthier pregnancies and babies. Through health checkups, a provider can spot health conditions and treat them before they become serious. Women who live in maternity care deserts may be at higher risk of having serious health complications and even death. A maternity care desert is an area where there are not enough hospitals, health care providers or health care services for pregnant and postpartum women. Babies who are born prematurely or with special health conditions are particularly vulnerable.

This March of Dimes report card provides data on preterm birth and factors impacting the health of moms and babies.

2019 March of Dimes Report Card

©March of Dimes Inc. 2019
GRADE PRETERM BIRTH RATE RANGE
SCORING CRITERIA
A Preterm birth rate less than or equal to 7.7%
A- Preterm birth rate of 7.8% to 8.1%
B+ Preterm birth rate of 8.2% to 8.5%
B Preterm birth rate of 8.6% to 8.9%
B- Preterm birth rate of 9.0% to 9.2%
C+ Preterm birth rate of 9.3% to 9.6%
C Preterm birth rate of 9.7% to 10.0%
C- Preterm birth rate of 10.1% to 10.3%
D+ Preterm birth rate of 10.4% to 10.7%
D Preterm birth rate of 10.8% to 11.1%
D- Preterm birth rate of 11.2% to 11.4%
F Preterm birth rate greater than or equal to 11.5%

Source: Preterm birth rates are from the National Center for Health Statistics, 2018 final natality data. Grades assigned by March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center.

Download the full March of Dimes 2019 Report Card and Policy Actions book or visit the March of Dimes website for more information

The causes run deep, rooted in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of our society with unique challenges and needs across different communities.

Together we won't stop until all moms and babies in the U.S.,especially those with the greatest need, have the best start in life.

Join Enfa and March of Dimes as we fight for healthy moms and strong babies.

Get Involved

A message from RB and March of Dimes:

March of Dimes’ partnership with RB -- a holding company that includes the brand Enfa, which manufacturers products ranging from child nutritional products to vitamins and baby thermometers - was carefully vetted in accordance with our policy on breastfeeding. Our work together in no way endorses infant formula over breastfeeding under any circumstance. In fact, March of Dimes and RB both support the WHO Code recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, and we encourage continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.

March of Dimes and RB are partners on the Better Starts for All campaign, which is a 3-year initiative that will drive support, education, clinical care, and virtualized care to women in at-risk, maternity care desert populations. This work illustrates March of Dimes and RB’s shared commitment to make a fundamental change in U.S. prenatal care and ensure that moms and babies get the best start in life.

Source: Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Vital Signs: Pregnancy-Related Deaths, United States, 2011–2015, and Strategies for Prevention, 13 States, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:423–429. DOI: http://dx .doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6818e1

Source: Macdorman, M. F., Declercq, E., Cabral, H., & Morton, C. (2016). Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 128(3), 447–455. doi: 10.1097/aog.0000000000001556

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, natality data, 2018.

Source: March of Dimes. 2018. Nowhere To Go Report.