More premature babies are born in the Central Valley than anywhere else in the state; that's according to the march of dimes. The organization unveiled California's pre-term birth report card Friday. The state got an "A", but the Valley's score wasn't so good.
It's good news for California, but officials say there are way to many premature babies inside neonatal intensive care units across the Central Valley, and even though in some cases, it can't be prevented; in many cases, it can be.
Brantley Beckman is exactly three months old and his parents are celebrating by taking him home for the very first time.
Brantley's mom Amber Beckman says, "It's an emotional day."
Brantley was born two months early in august due to a knot in his umbilical cord. He's been at the N.I.C.U at Children's Hospital of Central California ever since.
"It's been a long journey. You don't know like if he's going to make it, " says Amber.
It's been an emotional rollercoaster for first time mom, Amber, and she's not alone. Friday, the March of Dimes released California's pre-term births report card. California passed with flying colors, but the Valley is falling far behind. In fact, According to the March of Dimes, it has the highest pre-term birth rates in the state.
Children's Hospital of Central California Dr. Elizabeth Platz says, "Unfortunately, like many things in medicine, we don't have a complete understanding of all the factors that lead to preterm birth."
While some causes are unknown, there are known factors that contribute to early delivery; including smoking and poor prenatal care. Beckman says all expecting mothers need to be educated.
"If you want to do the things that you shouldn't do while you're pregnant, it's not worth it."
The latest numbers from 2010, show Madera County leading the way in pre-term birth rates with 13.3 %. Grim numbers, but according to officials, they are on a downward trend.