March of Dimes report shows factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality

(WZAW) -- On Monday, March of Dimes released its annual March of Dimes Report Card, which for the first time shines a spotlight on the collective factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, which moms and babies face together.

Rates of maternal death and morbidity are unacceptably high - approximately every 12 hours a woman dies due to complications resulting from pregnancy and 22,000 babies die every year.

Stacey Stewart, the CEO of March of Dimes, joined the Deep Bench on Monday to dive into the latest report card. She said It’s clear from this year’s data that maternal health complications and social determinants of health affect the health and survival of both mom and baby.

"We're seeing that the pre-term birth rate, which has increased for the fourth year in a row in the country, has also increased in Wisconsin. The pre-term birth rate is increased from 9.6% to 9.9%. And it's even worse in some parts of Wisconsin. In Milwaukee for example, the rate of premature birth is 12.8%."

She said that there are disparities when looking at the demographics of those affected by maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

"For example, the premature birth rate for black women in Wisconsin is 62% higher than it is for white women, so we have a crisis on our hands."

Early delivery, defined as less than 37 weeks of pregnancy, impacts both moms and babies, with babies experiencing increased risk of long-term health and developmental disabilities and moms being at increased risk for serious medical complications during and following delivery.

Stewart said the U.S. is among one of the worst developed nations where maternal mortality is getting worse and one of the most dangerous to have a baby.

"Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 0 and 5. For those babies who don't die because they're born prematurely, they often are facing lifelong health challenges."

March of Dimes is leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies and remains adamant that the poor state of maternal and infant health in the U.S. must be immediately addressed through policy recommendations and other actions.

To see the full report, visit