Arkansas premature births higher in African Americans

Arkansas premature births higher in African Americans
(Source: Raycom Media)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KATV) - One in six African American babies is born early and that's a rate almost double other ethnicities.

According to KATV, the March of Dimes 2017 Premature Birth Report Card rates the state with a "D-" with 10.9 percent of babies are born early out of a targeted goal of  8.1 percent.

But when you look at other statistics, the rate of African American premature babies is almost double all other ethnicities.

"We know that the usual things that help prevent premature birth are just as important, if not more-so in African American women as they are in women of all ethnic races," Neonatologist Dr. Whit Hall said. "Some African American women that have a genetic predisposition to delivering a premature baby."

Socioeconomics and teen pregnancies can play a role in early births, according to Hall.

But stress, which can be "due to racism" can also be a contributing factor.

Pulaski County has the highest rate of premature births at 12 percent and Benton County has the lowest rate of 9.8 percent.

Click here to read a mothers story about her premature babies.

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