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Every April, the March of Dimes organization leads the March for Babies, which leads the fight for the health of all moms and their babies. March of Dimes believes that every baby deserves the best possible start in life, and while not all babies get one, they hope to change that.
For 80 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of newborns survive and thrive. they've also supported mothers throughout their pregnancies, regardless of age, background, or demographics. March of Dimes advocates for policies that prioritize their health and support radical improvements to the care they receive. The foundation also pioneers research in order to find solutions to the biggest health threats facing mothers and infants.
What began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal struggle with polio led to the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, also known as March of Dimes. The vaccine research they spearheaded led to the eradication of polio in the United States. From there the foundation shifted its focus to address some of the biggest health threats to mothers and infants, utilizing innovations such as folic acid, newborn screening, and surfactant therapy.
Today, the March of Dimes educates medical professionals and the public about best practices, supports lifesaving research, provides comfort and support to families in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and advocates for those who need them the most: mothers and infants. They are stronger and more committed than ever to guiding mothers through every stage of their pregnancy journey, as well as advocating for the health of newborns.
Premature birth, which is birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and it's complications are the #1 cause of death of babies in the U.S. Babies who survive premature birth often have long term health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness, and hearing loss.
In the U.S., approximately 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year, leaving the preterm birth rate at 9.8%. The United States' preterm birth rate is among the worst of all high-resource nations.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign aims to reduce this and to give every baby a fair chance for a healthy, full term birth. Through the Prematurity Campaign, hundreds of organizations and experts work together to achieve demonstrated improvements in preterm birth across all economic situations.
There are plenty of ways to advocate, and advocacy is vital to advancing the March of Dimes' mission through public policies, programs, and funding. In this time of quarantine and social distancing, you can still achieve these goals! Some ideas: