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Prematurity Awareness Month

Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, spotlighting the ongoing health crisis of premature births. Complications resulting from premature birth, birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, are the number one cause of infant death in the United States. Many deaths from premature births are preventable, demonstrating the urgent need for continuous, accessible care for all mothers and infants.

World Prematurity Day is November 17

The Facts About Prematurity

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: 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. 

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. 

The March of Dimes' Prematurity Campaign

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign aims to reduce the rate of premature birth 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. What initiatives does the campaign include?

  • Prematurity Research Centers: health centers that study the causes of premature birth, as well as provide resources and programs that help moms through pregnancy and afterwards.
  • The March of Dimes Report Card: this highlights the collective factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
  • Mom and Baby Action Network: a collaborative of over 450 organizations and more than 700 individuals that work to achieve equity and improvements in premature birth prevention. 
  • Advocating legislation and other government policies that support maternal and infant health.

Prematurity Awareness Month

What Can I Do?

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:

  • Support Research to find solutions so every family gets the best possible start.
  • Advocate for Policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies.
  • Provide Resources and Programs to help mothers throughout their pregnancies.
  • Educate health professionals to improve mom and baby care.
  • Share your story on social media and tag March of Dimes. Utilize the hashtags #PrematurityAwarenessMonth, #ItsNotFine and #WorldPrematurityDay in your posts. 
  • Unite communities nationwide through collaborative efforts. This can include online meetings planning efforts such as as information campaigns!
  • Partner with organizations and companies committed to helping families.
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