Prematurity Awareness Month
Approximately 15 million babies around the world are born premature every year, and the United States has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country. In the US, 1 in 10 babies is born too soon. This global health issue takes center stage in November, which is Prematurity Awareness Month.
A birth is classified as premature if it occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors aren’t sure what causes preterm birth, though there are some risk factors that can increase its odds. Those include having previously given birth to a premature baby, a multiple pregnancy such as twins or triplets, a history of uterus or cervix problems and a family history of premature birth. There are also health conditions that can occur during pregnancy and increase the risk of premature birth, such as diabetes and preeclampsia.
The majority of the babies who receive donor milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas are preemies. Donor milk is gentle on their fragile digestive systems and can protect them from severe conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious intestinal infection.
While premature birth is at the forefront of the milk bank’s mission every day, more people take note of this public health concern during the month of November, particularly on World Prematurity Day on November 17. Individuals and organizations around the world educate others, raise awareness and wear purple to show their support in the fight against prematurity.
The March of Dimes is one of the most well-known organizations that advocates for the health of moms and babies. The organization focuses on education, supporting research and providing resources and support for NICU families, mothers and babies.
For more information about premature birth and to see the prematurity statistics where you live, click here.