March of Dimes says too many Illinois babies born premature

Too many Illinois babies are born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes. Its new report card shows 10.1 percent of the state’s births were at up to 37 weeks’ gestation.

You’re supposed to be pregnant for about 40 weeks.

The place in Illinois with the highest rate was Peoria, at 11.9 percent. Aurora, Chicago, Rockford, and Springfield all exceeded the state average.

Dr. William Grobman, a professor and ob-gyn at Northwestern University, says while exact causes remain unclear, “there are higher preterm birth rates in settings where there is less adequate social support.” He’s talking about such factors as food security and access to medical care.

Grobman says the amount of research being done, with two recent drug trials, gives him hope.