A big step for our tiniest patients: Oregon, Portland have nation’s lowest premature birth rates

In a new report from the March of Dimes, the national non-profit dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality and premature birth, Oregon, Portland and Vancouver have the lowest rates of premature babies.

According to the March of Dimes, “preterm births are defined as births before 37 weeks of pregnancy and are a leading cause of infant mortality.”

In their 2015 Premature Birth Report Card, Oregon’s preterm birth rate of 7.7 percent is the lowest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We also received an A for exceeding the group’s 2020 national goal of 8.1 percent.

At OHSU, we’re dedicated to helping babies begin healthy lives. Dr. Aaron Caughey, chair of department of obstetrics and gynecology, has a special interest in preventing preterm births. As chairman of the Oregon Perinatal Collaborative, he leads a group of healthcare providers who work to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes.

He believes that this recognition was achieved in large part because people, programs and legislation in Oregon are actively coming together (more so than in other places) to serve the same mission: improving the lives of women and children in Oregon.

And while this is wonderful news for growing families across the state, there is still work to do to improve the national premature birth rate of 9.6 percent and to close the gaps in the March of Dimes’ disparity index, which looked at preterm birth rates across racial and ethnic groups within a geographic area. In those rankings, Oregon came in 13th.

To read more about Oregon’s report card or to review all the rankings, visit the March of Dimes website.


March of Dimes: 2015 Premature Birth Report Cards
March of Dimes: 2015 Premature Birth Report Cards