Preterm birth rates in the United States, especially in Detroit, remain high despite efforts to prevent them. Detroit received an F grade for having the highest preterm birth rate of all US cities, with a rate of 15.1% (March of Dimes, 2022). Racial disparities persist, with black women having higher odds of preterm birth compared to white women.
To address this issue, the Preterm Birth Program has been implemented in Detroit at the Wayne State University School of Medicine C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development.
The Preterm Birth Program will focus on four major areas of study:
- Preconception health, which recognizes the importance of the preconception environment for both men and women and develops tools to measure the health of sperm and oocytes to predict reproductive success
- Lifestyle factors, aiming to develop an interactive map in different Detroit school districts relating prenatal lifestyle factors of alcohol and tobacco use and nutrient status with preterm birth markers
- Etiological factors on pregnancy that include a deeper dive on environmental screening, indoor air quality, and volatile organic compounds
- Community outreach, dedicated to developing information prenatal screening through mobile units, conducting preconception and post-conception evaluations for exposure to environmental factors, and organizing community educational activities
The ultimate goal of the program is to stop the cycle of preterm birth rates and improve the overall reproductive health of the population in Detroit by identifying risk factors, implementing interventions, and engaging with the community.