Today, November 17th, is Prematurity Awareness Day. Jenna posted about month-long awareness campaign a few weeks ago. March of Dimes...
Today, November 17th, is Prematurity Awareness Day. Jenna posted about month-long awareness campaign a few weeks ago. March of Dimes does wonderful work to spread the word about prematurity. Yesterday, March of Dimes released its 2010 Premature Birth Report Card. The result for the United States as a whole? Not good. At all. The nation as a whole scored a "D." Here is how it works:
The March of Dimes compared the U.S. and each state with the target set in "Healthy People 2010." That report is issued every decade by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the U.S. Department of health and Human Services. The target rate for preterm births is 7.6 percent or less. There are currently no states that meet that. The current nationwide rate based on the report card is 12.3 percent. (Source)
Jennifer Howse, the President of March of Dimes, explained that the US earned a D because there are over 500,000 premature births in the US annually. And that's a lot. Even more significant than the number is the risk associated with preterm birth. The March of dimes notes that premature birth is the leading cause of death in newborns. Prematurity can also cause of several disabilities, such as lung issues and cerebral palsy. While the overall grade is grim, there is some good news. The preterm birth rates have improved in forty states and the District of Columbia. While prematurity cannot be prevented in some cases, efforts can be made to avoid it in others. For example, women should not be induced or have C-sections before 39 weeks (in the absence of medical indication). Go to the March of Dimes website for more information and to download a banner for your website. Help spread the word.

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