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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.
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 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?
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: