POSTED: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 5:55pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 9:31am
BROWNSVILLE — Premature births are the number one reason why the U.S. has such a high infant mortality rate. But - according to the March of Dimes Birth Report Card the number of American babies born before the 37th week is actually on the decline.
Brownsville Obstetrician Dr. Jose Cisneros, says the rate has also declined here in the Valley.
"Maybe a slight decrease but not something I would say is significant you know but yea probably a decrease rate of preterm birth in the Valley."
Even with that slight decrease, preterm births in the Valley still outpace the national rate.
"What is important here for the Hispanic community or any community in the Valley is the access to medical care."
Why are mothers-to-be not accessing medical care? Dr. Cisneros says it may have everything to do with their environment.
"Probably - socio-economic factors play a role in preterm birth so you may see a higher preterm birth in those socio-economic factors."
Studies have shown that women who have delivered premature babies in the past are more likely to go into labor early again.
"Absolutely one of the major risks for the preterm birth is the history of preterm birth so if you have a person or a patient who has had preterm in the past absolutely that patient is going to be at a higher risk for preterm birth"
The bottom line - prenatal care is the most important step moms can take towards having healthy, full-term babies. Reporting from Brownsville Abigail Camilo KVEO, Newscenter 23.