March of Dimes has released its annual report which grades all 50 states on their rates of preterm birth and reveals racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in each state. The country overall got a C-grade and Louisiana received an F. President of the organization, Stacy Stewart said it’s an indicator more babies are being born premature and less healthy.

"The rate has increased slightly from 12.6 % to 12.7% and that compares to about a 9.93% rate of premature births for the rest of the country," said Stewart.

Stewart said women need access to good quality and affordable prenatal care, as well as women need to be healthy before they become pregnant.

"If women are having chronic diseases like obesity and hypertension and diabetes, women really need to get those issues addressed the best they can before they are pregnant, ideally," said Stewart.

Stewart said changes must happen on many levels to ensure healthier pregnancies.

"What we are really calling for is a blanket change, comprehensive change, and really, in fact, even policy change at the state level and at the federal level that can help provide a more supportive environment for women," said Stewart.

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