Premature births are on the decline in Montana. Executive Director of the Big Sky Chapter of the March of Dimes Gayle Whittenberg said Montana has had a long term positive trend.

"Our rate in Montana this year was 10.5 percent and that has improved over last year. That gives us a 'B' grade," Whittenberg said. "Our goal as a nation is to get to 9.6 percent. The United States as a whole was given a grade of 'C' at 11.4 percent."

Montana has received a "B" grade for seven years in a row, improving slightly each year. Whittenberg said there are three things the state needs to work on to get an "A."

"We're urging women in the state of Montana to quit smoking, to quit taking drugs, to try to get some type of insurance that will cover them," Whittenberg said. "We're calling health professionals in hospitals to eliminate early elected delivery before 39 weeks of completed gestation."

Whittenberg said that early elective deliveries in Montana also dropped slightly, from 8.1 to 8 percent.