November is Prematurity Awareness Month. The March of Dimes 2020 goal for preterm birth rates is 9.6%. South Carolina’s current preterm birth rate is 14.2%.
Every year, 15 million babies are born too soon, and more than 1 million die. At least 75 percent of these deaths can be prevented.
By improving access to health care coverage, helping women quit smoking, and preventing unnecessary early c-sections, more babies can get a healthy start in life and are all areas of focus by the March of Dimes.
McLeod 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.
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.