November is Prematurity Awareness Month!


Scotch Plains, NJ – November 2016

An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year and more than one million of them do not survive their early birth. Although the United States has seen continuous improvement in its preterm birth rate, it has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country. Premature (also known as preterm) birth is when a baby is born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. The earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of death or serious disability. Babies who survive can have breathing issues, intestinal (digestive) issues and bleeding in their brains. Long-term problems may include developmental delay and poor performance in school.

November 17th will be recognized around the globe as the fourth annual World Prematurity Day. Organizations and individuals around the globe will observe Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day. Celebrities, state officials and business and community leaders are working to bring attention to this infant health problem and will join other celebrity parents to spread the word that premature birth is a very serious health issue for babies & families worldwide.

Specialists don’t know all the reasons that some babies are born too soon. Even if a woman does everything “right” during pregnancy, she still can have a preterm birth. Some things (risk factors) can increase the chance that a woman will have a preterm birth.

In addition to race, risk factors for preterm birth include—

Social characteristics

  • Teens
  • Women over age 35 years
  • Low socioeconomic (a measure that typically includes income, education, and occupation) position

Health behaviors

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Low or highbody mass index

Medical and pregnancy characteristics

  • Mental health (stress,depression)
  • Pregnancy history (short time between pregnancies, delivering a baby preterm in the past, carrying more than one baby)
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Medical disorders (thyroid disease,obesity, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure)
  • Fertility treatments (assisted reproductive technology or other treatments)
  • Infection within the uterus

Many prematurity Awareness Month events are scheduled nationwide throughout November. Prominent buildings and landmarks in several states, including the Empire State Building in New York City, will be shining in purple light to symbolize hope for a healthy start for more babies. There also will be professional education programs, as well as family events and gatherings.

About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.

About Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.


March Of Dimes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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