“Not all women are able to breastfeed, but we encourage it among our patients because of the very real benefits to both mom and child,” Dr. Carter says. “We’ve made great strides on that front, especially among African-American women, who historically have high rates of preterm delivery and low breastfeeding rates.”
By promoting the benefits of the practice, the overall breastfeeding rate at Tidelands Georgetown increased 10 percent in just two years. The breastfeeding rate among African-American moms spiked by 91 percent.
Despite the many initiatives underway to help reduce preterm births, it’s not realistic to expect they will ever be completely eliminated, Dr. Gerber says. But, as the March of Dimes report reflects, there’s room for improvement in South Carolina and across the country.
“This is a complex challenge, and there’s no single or simple solution,” Dr. Gerber says. “Instead, our goal is to provide each mom with the supportive, personalized care she needs to safely deliver a healthy and happy baby.”