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Premature Birth Rates in Cleveland Are Highest in the Country


A new report from the March of Dimes finds that Cleveland has the highest rate of premature births in the U.S. The study looked at cities with the 100 highest birth rates.

Sam Mesiano, a professor of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve University, says maternal stress generally plays a role in the chances for preterm birth. However, he believes more research is necessary to determine exactly what is causing the high rate in Cleveland.

“You could try and draw a link between the poverty in Cleveland, the racial disparities in Cleveland, but we really don’t know whether they’re playing directly into affecting the risk for preterm birth. This is something that we need to study.”

Mesiano believes bringing pregnant women together to meet and discuss their experiences on a regular basis will help address stress-related issues.

Cuyahoga County and Cleveland are regularly above the national average rate of premature births, which is linked to Ohio's high infant mortality rate.