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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) -- Premature births are the number one reason why the U.S. has such a high infant mortality rate, but according to the March of Dimes Birth Report Card the number of American babies born before the 37th week is actually on the decline.

Brownsville, Texas Obstetrician Dr. Jose Cisneros says the rate has also declined in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Maybe a slight decrease but not something I would say is significant you know but yea probably a decrease rate of preterm birth in the Valley."

Even with that slight decrease, preterm births in the Valley still outpace the national rate.

"What is important here for the Hispanic community or any community in the Valley is the access to medical care," Dr. Cisneros says.

Why are mothers-to-be not accessing medical care?

Dr. Cisneros says it may have everything to do with their environment.

"Probably socio-economic factors play a role in preterm birth so you may see a higher preterm birth in those socio-economic factors," Cisneros says.

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