A couple of days ago brand new data complied by the National Center for Health Statistics was released and the...
A couple of days ago brand new data complied by the National Center for Health Statistics was released and the preterm birth rates don't look good. In 2005 the preterm birth rates rose and now the newest set of data for 2006 shows another continuing increase. Furthermore in the past few years science has learned even more about the harmful consequence of preterm birth which only compounds the issue. In the official press release regarding this new data, Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes notes,"The more we learn about the terrible consequences of an early birth, the more determined the March of Dimes is to understand what causes preterm birth and how it can be prevented. That's why we are supporting a U.S. Surgeon General's conference for 2008 to bring together experts and develop a national agenda to prevent preterm labor and delivery." Preterm means that a baby is born at or before 37 weeks. The last rise in preterm births was up 12.5% from the previous year and about a total of 525,000 babies were born prematurely in 2005. Rates are going up though, so even more babies may be affected negatively by preterm birth. Prematurity is not only growing but is also the leading cause of death in the first month of life for babies. Both early and later preterm babies are at risk for respiratory distress syndrome, nutrition problems, hypothermia, jaundice and delayed brain development. According to the March of Dimes premature births cost the U.S alone more than "$26.2 billion in medical and educational costs and lost productivity and average first year medical costs were about 10 times greater for preterm than for term infants." The March of Dimes works hard to stop as many premature births as possible. You can learn more about the best ways to insure a healthy nine month long pregnancy, the campagin to stop prematurity, premature birth costs to families and businesses, and connect with families who have premature babies at the March of Dime's website.

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