You probably would not like to see letters like "C" or "D" on your child's report card but these are the grades the March of Dimes gave counties around metro Atlanta.
"I saw my child come to life outside of the womb," Kimberly Fisher told Channel 2's Wendy Corona.
Fisher describes the months after her daughter Mackenzie was prematurely born at just 26-and-a-half-weeks.
"When she was born she didn’t have any eyelashes, she didn’t have any nailbeds. I could see all of her veins," Fisher said.
Mackenzie spent 15 months in the hospital and still faces health and developmental challenges almost 14 years later. Thursday, the March of Dimes released a premature birth report card.
The nation rates a “C." Georgia is lower with a "D.”
"We’re struggling and the fact is, it's gotten worse in the past two years," said Denise McLaughlin, who serves on the maternal and child health committee for the March of Dimes. She sees the national trend of preemie birth rates rising across the United States.
Georgia’s sits at 11.4 percent.
"Kimberly has a daughter that’s probably going to need lifelong support."
"Me and my husband planned our pregnancy, I had access to health care. I had access to prenatal care," Fisher said.
The report shows that African-American women, like Fisher, have a 46 percent increased risk of delivering early.
"What’s causing it? Is it the environment? Is it stress levels?" Fisher asked.
McLaughlin said the report shines a spotlight on the need for more research and more prenatal care programs, especially in more rural areas.
"It’s shouting out that there’s chronic inequity, inadequate access to good prenatal care in this state," McLaughlin said.
The target goal for the country is 8.1 percent and only one state has a preterm birth rate at that level: Vermont.
In just the past year, 30 states saw their preterm birth rates rise.