California among leaders in reducing premature births

California is one of just four states to reach a national goal of reducing premature births to 9.6 percent of deliveries, according to a new March of Dimes report.

Preliminary numbers show that the state reduced its premature birth rate from 9.8 percent to 9.6 percent in 2012, the organization said. The national average is 11.5 percent.

That leaves the state behind just Maine, Oregon and Alaska in preventing premature births.

The state also made progress on two of three indicators which are believed to contribute to healthy births. The state reduced the number of uninsured women and reduced the number of late pre-term births. One blemish on the record: more women were reported to be smoking.

To see the full California report card, go here.

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