Amarillo, TX - Texas is officially among the worst states for premature births. The Lone Star State received an "F." 13.6 percent of all births in Texas are premature.
That means all births coming before the 37th week of pregnancy, and it's also the leading cause of death among infants in the first month of life.
It's the second straight year that Texas earned the worst possible grade. This grade is made up from three different categories from which we actually did better in two of this year. The first is late Pre term Births which is any birth that occurs between 34 and 36 weeks.
The second contributing factor is smoking during pregnancy. The number of pregnant women who smoke in Texas has dropped almost 3 percent since last year but still sits at just under 16 percent.
And the third factor that went into the grading system is uninsured women. Women who are uninsured tend to opt out of receiving prenatal care. Which can be detrimental to a healthy birth.
Texas actually moved backwards this year on the percentage of uninsured women who give birth. Which was the major factor for why we failed this year.
But now there are options. Options in the form of incentive programs that give moms points for getting proper care. NorthWest Regional Medical Center and the March of Dimes have come up with a program that gives mom's points for things like not smoking or coming in for prenatal care.