March of Dimes hopes ACA means more healthy babies for Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s premature birth rate could decline as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Julie Drake, director of Program Services and Government Affairs with the March of Dimes Utah Chapter, says her organization is pinning its hopes on the ACA, because many women have premature births when they lack access to vital prenatal healthcare.

She says the new health care law will help matters through insurance coverage and elimination of pregnancy as a preexisting condition.

“We’re certainly hoping so,” she says. “We hope that women will be able to get in and get better care and get care earlier, too.”

The March of Dimes annual <a href=”http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/prematurity-reportcard.aspx” target=”parent”>Premature Birth Report Card</a> gives Utah a B. That means that the state’s 10.2 percent rate is among the nation’s lowest. The national average is 11.5 percent.

A premature birth is a baby born before 37 weeks. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.

Drake says babies born too soon can have lifelong health problems.

“The babies that are pre-term have more problems with cerebral palsy,” she explains. “They may have respiratory problems, breathing problems – intellectual disability.”

The March of Dimes has a goal of reducing the national preterm birth rate to 9.6 percent by 2020.

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