A report from a non-profit group shows nearly one in ten Iowa babies were born pre-term this year. That’s up from 9-point-2 percent last year and is the highest rate in a decade. Plus, the rate is much higher for babies born to black mothers. Stacey Stewart, president of the March of Dimes, says one reason for the disparity is that research shows black women often report they don’t feel as respected in health care settings.

Stewart says, “We have to make sure that the health care system is responsive to them, is meeting them where their needs are, and is responding to them in a respectful and responsive way.” The March of Dimes report gave Iowa a “C” grade. Stewart says pre-mature births are linked to a number of health issues for children.

Stewart says, “Often they face lifelong health conditions like cerebral palsy, vision problems, cognitive delays, developmental delays, and other and other health challenges that are with them for the rest of their lives.” While the state’s overall pre-term birth rate is nine-point-nine percent, it shows the rate is 33-percent higher for black women.

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