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March of Dimes: Premature birth rate up slightly in Wisconsin

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Just over one-of-every-10 babies were born prematurely in Wisconsin last year. That's according to the March of Dimes, which said the state's premature birth rate inched up one-tenth-of-a-percent from 2011's rate of 10.4.

Despite the increase, the March of Dimes gave Wisconsin a grade of "B" for its efforts to reduce premature birth, which is the main reason that babies die. Among other things, Badger-Care Plus offers temporary insurance to pregnant women who qualify.

By seeing a regular doctor they can avoid complications many low-income women face by going to the emergency room when it's time to give birth. Wisconsin had a slight increase in un-insured women of child-bearing age in 2012.

In Milwaukee, Aurora Sinai and Wheaton Franciscan-Saint Joseph hospitals created safety nets to deal with larger numbers of pregnant women in their E-R's. Nationally, the March of Dimes encourages more Medicaid and other insurance coverage to women of child-bearing age. The group also encourages employers to do more to support the health of mothers-and-infants.