WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — March Of Dimes has released a comprehensive overview of the health of moms and babies across the U.S. This report shows that the United States remains among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth.
According to March of Dimes, Iowa currently has a 9.5% preterm birth rate, which is average compared to the entire country and four points down from 2018.
However, the preterm birth rate has increased in the state’s most populated counties and cities, with Des Moines having the highest, at 11.8%.
The Medical Director with the Pediatrics Group of Iowa, Dr. Cary Murphy, said the state has three focuses on how to solve this problem.
“When it comes to prematurity, they’re looking at socioeconomic status, access to care, pre-existing conditions. All of those things that can increase the risk of premature birth,” Dr. Murphy said.
Last week MercyOne announced a new maternity center at their medical center in West Des Moines.
The new obstetrics program includes inpatient births and surgical services as well as a level two neonatal intensive care unit.
The level two nursery will provide advanced monitoring and clinical services for premature infants and full-term infants requiring specialized care.
There will be a four-room unit that can accommodate up to five infants and offers advanced clinical services, leading-edge monitoring technology, and specially trained staff onsite. The NICU can also care for infants as young as 32 weeks.
Dr. Murphy said this new maternity center allows them to serve more families in the metro, in one of the fastest-growing communities in the state.
“We can take care of a greater subset of patients at that location which is a great satisfier for the parents because the mom and the babies aren’t separated,” Dr. Murphy said. “The other advantage is reassuring the OB providers that if something does unexpectedly happen, they have that specialist there in-house, 24/7.”