Short & Sweet
In 2013, 450,000 babies out of 4 million live births in the United States were preterm births. Babies who experience preterm birth face a higher risk of newborn death or a lifetime of health challenges like cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments and intellectual disabilities than full-term babies.
The March of Dimes is calling for a nationwide effort to reduce U.S. preterm births to 5.5 percent by 2030. Currently, the U.S. rate is high at 11.4 percent, making it one of the highest preterm birth rates in the world. The March of Dimes is funding a network of Prematurity Research Centers to figure out why so may babies are being born prematurely and if there are any new interventions that we need to put in place.
We can take several actions to help reduce preterm births:
- Stop choosing elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
- Space pregnancies 18-23 months apart.
- Quit smoking.
- Progesterone treatments should be given to all moms with a prior preterm birth.
- Reduce multiple births by following fertility treatment best practices.
- Low dose aspirin should be offered to women with high risk pregnancies to prevent preeclampsia.
It's a no brainer. Take care of yourself, advocate for your unborn baby, and if something feels "off," demand that your doctor take you seriously. Babies are being born too soon, and some are even dying.
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