Thirteen states participating in a regional collaborative to improve birth outcomes in the South decreased early elective deliveries by an average 22% between 2011 and 2014, compared with 14% in other regions, the Health Resources and Services Administration announced yesterday. Participating states also increased their quit-smoking rate for pregnant women, back-only sleeping rate for infants and pre-term birth rate more than other states during the period. HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau launched the collaborative in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas in 2012, expanding it to all states in 2014. “Further evaluation will be needed to assess whether other regions have achieved similar results, and whether additional strategies and sustained effort in the South have led to improvements in infant mortality rates,” the agency said.

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