During the month of November, organizations around the world hold events and offer educational opportunities to raise awareness about prematurity and November 17th is designated as World Prematurity Day. Wear purple to show your support for prematurity awareness and share the information provided in this article to increase awareness among your friends and family.
What is Prematurity?
Babies born before 37 weeks gestation are considered premature (or preterm). They may have problems with digesting food, breathing, hearing, and may even have permanent brain damage. Other long-term effects of prematurity include learning disabilities, difficulty communicating with others, and the inability to take care of themselves.
Why is Prematurity Awareness Important?
- Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death.
- In 2015, 17% of infant deaths were due to complications related to preterm birth.
- In 2016, one in ten babies were born prematurely. See how your state ranks on premature births by clicking here.
- One study found that the average cost during the first year of life of a child born prematurely is about $49,000, compared to $4,551 for babies born without any complications.
What Can I Do?
Know the risk factors (not an all-inclusive list):
- High blood pressure
- Being underweight or obese
- Mom’s age is younger than 18 or older than 35
- Lack of prenatal care
- Drinking alcohol
- Domestic violence
Get involved in organizations such as the March of Dimes, a leader in promoting prematurity awareness and research. November 17th is World Prematurity Day; you can support prematurity awareness efforts by wearing purple, spreading the word about prematurity awareness, and/or contacting your local March of Dimes office for more information.