BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The U.S. is among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. That’s according to a new report that shows over 10% of births were preterm last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds 10.5% of births that happened before 37 weeks of pregnancy in 2021 — the highest percentage ever. In 2022, that number dropped to 10.4%, a negligible difference, according to the head of March of Dimes.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and Friday is World Prematurity Day. Members of the Alpha Sigma Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. partnered with March of Dimes, an organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies. Ending preventable preterm birth and infant death is one of its main focuses.

According to its website, one in eight babies were born preterm in Alabama in 2021, with Black infants having the highest risk. Zeta Phi Beta President Tiffany Caldwell and member Lawanda Hall said now more than ever is the time to bring awareness.

“Within the last month, we’ve had two maternity wards to close in this area,” Caldwell said.

“A lot of people are not getting their prenatal care,” Caldwell continued. “A lot of people that are not carrying their baby to full term.”

“We’re asking all to support the effort of awareness,” Hall said. “Share your story as Tiffany just explained. Be informed, go to the website, read about it. Check the report card.”

The 2023 March of Dimes report card for the U.S. showed a grade of D+ for preterm birth rates. Alabama has a score of F.