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Preterm birth rate continues to fall

October 5, 2012

The preterm birth rate fell for the fifth straight year in 2011, to 11.7%, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 2% fewer births prior to 37 weeks of gestation than in 2010 and the lowest level in more than a decade. The cesarean delivery rate was 32.8%, about the same as the past two years, suggesting the prior upward trend has ended. Total U.S. births declined 1% (45,793) in 2011, to 3.95 million.