Ohio -- A new report from the March of Dimes gives Ohio a "D" for a high rate of premature births.

Per the reports, "premature births and its complications are the largest contributors to infant deaths."  Ohio also

has one of the worst rates in the country when it comes to infant mortality.

  • Ohio scores a "D" for a high rate of premature births
  • Ranked 41st in the nation
  • African American rate reamins one of the highest in the nation

When the Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality was created in 2014, Ohio was ranked 47th in the nation,

despite the state also being one of the top spenders for health care.

The state has since moved up to 41st, however, the African American rate remains one of the highest in the nation.

Christian Farmer is trying to tackle the issue in Cuyahoga County.

She says nationally, for every 1,000 babies born, six babies die.  But in some Cleveland neighborhoods, that number is as much as 36. 

“The consensus is this is generally a poor black's problem, and that's not true,” she tells Spectrum News 1.  “If you live in an affluent neighborhood if you are African American, you still have the same risk of losing your child before the age of 1 as if you lived in an impoverished neighborhood.  A master degree African American woman is still twice as likely to lose her baby than a white woman without a high school diploma.” 

It’s the reason organizations are forming all over the state to tackle this issue.

In Cuyahoga County, Farmer started Birthing Beautiful Communities.  It is a village of doulas, or birth workers, who help at-risk pregnant mothers within their communities.

Their methods seem to be working.  Farmer says they have a 99.8% infant survival rate and 96% of the moms who completed their program in 2017 were full term.