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Prematurity Awareness Month Highlight

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Prematurity Awareness Month Highlight

November 8, 2021

This week, we are focusing on educating parents about Prematurity Awareness Month and the risks associated with preterm births!

Each week in November, we will be highlighting a new national observance for the month, drawing attention to various important causes. Follow along all month long to learn, take action, and spread the word!

November is known as National Prematurity Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the nearly 400,000 babies born preterm each year in the United States and what can be done to possibly prevent them!

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign aims to reduce premature birth in the United States and to give every baby a fair chance for a healthy full-term birth. The March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card reveals racial/ethnic and geographic disparities signifying that babies have a higher chance of a premature birth based simply on race/ethnicity and zip code. 

About 1 in 10 babies are born preterm, or before completing the normal 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy. These babies miss out on the important growth and development that happens in the final weeks of pregnancy.

An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and more than one million of them unfortunately do not survive their early birth. Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant mortality, and babies who survive can have short- and long-term health problems as a result.

In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. The preterm birth rate (the percent of babies born before 37 weeks each year) is 9.8% in the United States. This means 1 in 10 babies is born too soon. The U.S. preterm birth rate is among the worst of high-resource nations.

CDC has identified five key strategies proven to reduce preterm births:

  • Prevent unintended pregnancies and achieve an ideal length of time between pregnancies (birth spacing).
  • Provide women ages 18 – 44 years access to health care before and between pregnancies to help manage chronic conditions and modify other risk behaviors, such as smoking.
  • Identify women at risk for giving birth too early and offer effective treatments to prevent preterm birth.
  • Discourage deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical need.
  • When in vitro fertilization is used, elect to transfer just one embryo, as appropriate, to reduce multiple births.

Fighting prematurity for a better chance at life for our children.

Visit the March of Dimes website to find more information on how to get involved. Together, we can end preventable preterm births. All babies and families should have the best possible start!