CDC pinpoints 5 strategies for preterm birth prevention

Approximately 10 percent, or 400,000 babies, are born preterm in the U.S., missing out on the growth and development that occurs in the final weeks of pregnancy.

While the national preterm birth rate declined by 8 percent from 2007 to 2014, according to Thursday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more recent data suggests the preterm birth rate rose from 9.57 percent in 2014 to 9.63 percent in 2015.

Here are five strategies to help lower the instances of preterm birth in the U.S., released by the CDC in honor of National Prematurity Awareness Month.

1. Advise patients to avoid unintended pregnancies and achieve optimal length of time (18 months) between pregnancies.

2. Provide women ages 18 to 44 years of age access to healthcare before and between pregnancies to assist in the management of chronic conditions and mitigate risk behaviors, like smoking.

3. Identify women at risk for giving birth too early and offer effective treatments to prevent preterm birth.

4. Discourage deliveries prior to 39 weeks that are not medically necessary.

5. In instances of in vitro fertilization, transfer a single embryo when appropriate to reduce the likelihood of multiple births.

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