Looking to reduce the Louisiana's premature birth rate, the Department of Health and Hospitals is partnering with the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes has challenged states to reduce their rates of prematurity by 8%. DHH Officials say Louisiana is the first state to have all of it's hospitals agree to eliminate the practice of delivering babies before 39 weeks when not medically necessary. Louisiana has historically ranked among the bottom 2 or 3 states in the country in prematurity and infant mortality rates.