By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The grades are out from the March of Dimes in a new study on preventing pre-term births.

Pennsylvania and Delaware get B’s, but New Jersey earns a C as its pre-term birth rate is no better than the national average.

Dr. Jay Greenspan, program services board chair at the local March of Dimes, says pre-term births — those before 38 weeks — are medically dangerous.

“It’s the leading cause of infant mortality in this country, and it certainly causes many problems and long lengths of stay in intensive care nurseries, stresses on the family, and of course cost to all of us who pay insurance,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Dr. Greenspan says women can help prevent early deliveries by maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, keeping medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes under control, and getting good prenatal care.

See the full March of Dimes report card (.pdf format)

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