(11/11/11) - During the month of November, in observance of Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day on November 17, McLeod Medical Center Dillon and McLeod OB/GYN Dillon have placed purple ribbons on their entrance doors to raise awareness of premature births. The March of Dimes 2020 goal for preterm birth rates is 9.6%. South Carolina's current preterm birth rate is 14.5%.
According to Vince Ford, March of Dimes Chapter Board Chair, "We are determined to find and implement solutions to improve the health of babies, such as improving access to health care coverage, helping women quit smoking, and preventing unnecessary early c-sections so more babies can get a healthy start in life."
According to the March of Dimes, in South Carolina, the rate of women smoking is 20.7%; the rate of uninsured women is 24%, and the rate of late preterm births is 10%. Quality improvement programs are key to lowering preterm birth rates, according to the March of Dimes. McLeod Medical Center Dillon is collaborating with The March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter, the Department of Health and Human Services and the South Carolina Hospital Association to reduce the rate of elective inductions before 39 weeks.
Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks completed gestation, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. At least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby's health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month. On November 17, 2011, the March of Dimes and its global partners will observe the first-ever World Prematurity Day to raise awareness that preterm birth is a serious problem worldwide. An estimated 13 million babies are born preterm and of those one million die as a result of their early birth, according to an October 2009 March of Dimes report on the global toll of preterm birth.
On November 10, the March of Dimes, along with the South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services hosted a press conference to update hospital representatives from across the state along with maternal and child health professionals on the latest Birth Outcomes Initiative collaborative. This initiative includes the March of Dimes Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait campaign which encourages physicians and expectant moms not to schedule elective inductions or c-sections before 39 weeks of pregnancy. For more information on this program, visit Facebook.com/scmarchofdimes.com
Each year, the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes invests more than 1.5 million dollars in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues working to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina's premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find the March of Dimes on Facebook and Twitter.