Texas Gets "F" in Pre-Term Births

Texas is failing the March of Dimes Premature Birth Rate Report Card and it is a trend just a common here in the Panhandle.

One in every eight babies is born prematurely in the Panhandle. Most women know to take pre-natal vitamins, get plenty of rest and avoid smoking. But, stress is being identified more commonly as the cause of pre-term births.

The Harris family was visiting family in Arizona when Caroline's dad collapsed at the table.

"He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and we returned from the hospital around 11 o'clock and my water broke," says Harris.

Hank Harris was born weighing just one and a half pounds. "I mean the day he was born the nurses came in and said he may never walk, he may never talk , he may have severe brain damage."

Stress induced pre-term labor is becoming more common across the nation.

Pediatrician Meganne Walsh says, "We're in a busy society and you know just recently you know, we've just had economic concerns, and financial strains."

Harris says not understanding what was going on with her body may have hurt her most.

"Just knowing what a contraction feels like. I had no idea I was even having contractions. So maybe when you're pregnant ask your doctor what a contraction feels like and then watch out for those signs."

Physicians say the high teen pregnancy rate and high number of uninsured mothers are the leading causes of prematurity in our area.

The federal goal is to reduce the premature birth rate from 1 in 8 to 1 in 13 by 2010.