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The United States is facing an urgent maternal and infant health crisis. Each year, thousands of moms and babies deal with complications from pregnancy and premature birth.
Calling attention to Prematurity Awareness Month is more important than ever before. However, this crisis is not just about the health of premature babies, it's also about those we've lost. It's about the moms who passed away and those who face serious health conditions before, during, and after pregnancy. It's about the continuous care for all moms and babies.
Maternal & Infant Health Crisis
Each year in our country, more than 22,000 babies die - that's 2 babies every hour. Here are some premature birth facts that everyone should know:
1. The preterm birth rate increased from 9.63% in 2015 to 10.02% in 2018.
2. Premature birth can lead to lifelong health problems, such as: cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness, and hearing loss.
3. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in the United States and globally.
The rates of maternal death and severe pregnancy complications are unacceptable. According to the United Nations, the United States is among the most dangerous developed nations in the world in which to give birth. A woman dies approximately every 12 hours as a result of complications from pregnancy, and over 50,000 suffer life-threatening health challenges.
While approximately 700 women die from pregnancy related causes each year in the United States, more than 60% of these deaths are preventable. Even more alarming is the fact that significant racial disparity in maternal mortality exists.
Leading the Fight for the Health of All Moms & Babies
March of Dimes is shining a spotlight on this maternal and infant health crisis this Prematurity Awareness Month. They are dedicated to advancing the understanding of premature birth, working hand-in-hand with researchers, policymakers, community leaders, and families.
As part of this effort, March of Dimes released its Report Card, which highlights the collective factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. They are also advocating for policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies. For instance, March of Dimes recently supported the passage of the Preemie Reauthorization and Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Acts.
Through their 6 March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers, they are studying the unknown causes of premature birth to help solve this urgent health crisis. They provide resources and programs that help moms before and throughout pregnancy. March of Dimes is also expanding the group prenatal care program, Supportive Pregnancy Care, for moms and continue their NICU Family Support programs for families whose babies need to stay in the hospital.
Through the March of Dimes Prematurity Collaborative, 450 organizations and more than 700 individuals are working to achieve equity and improvements in premature birth prevention.
It's Not Fine, But It Can Be
March of Dimes need our support to create positive change. That is why they are calling on communities and individuals nationwide to join them in the fight for the health of all moms and babies this November. You can take action in the #ItsNotFine campaign during #PrematurityAwarenessMonth. You can:
1. Advocate by signing the petition to encourage lawmakers to improve the health of moms and their babies by passing a comprehensive bill to fight for the health and lives of moms.
2. Donate at marchofdimes.org or create your own fundraising campaign. Your donation could help in many ways, such as providing a meal to a family with a baby staying in the NICU, helping NICU babies build bonds with their families through programs that give parents the chance to nurture them, even through a hospital stay, and provide quality prenatal care to a mom at risk.
2. Share your story on social media and tag March of Dimes. Utilize the hashtags #PrematurityAwarenessMonth, #ItsNotFine and #WorldPrematurityDay in your posts.
3. Join the Unspoken Stories Community and the new March of Dimes Community on Facebook to share or listen to honest stories of pregnancy, parenting and loss.
4. Participate in days of gratitude or host an Unspoken Conversation to support those who have been affected by premature birth or celebrate NICU graduates. Reach out to caregivers, hospital staff, policymakers and anyone who has supported you.
5. Light it purple, including your office or home. If you can wear it, make it purple and share on your social media networks.
6. Volunteer in your community.
You can make a difference to those families, moms, and babies who need our support and help.