By Gloria Kreps
Finally, there's some good news
about prematurity. For the first time in five years, the March of Dimes reports that the percentage of preemie babies has declined. The change is slight, but it's welcome news that means more wee ones have a better chance of
Even infants born just a few weeks early have higher rates of
hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. The last few weeks of
pregnancy are important to a baby’s health because many important organs,
including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.
than 1,600 babies every year - mostly preemies - need a little more medical
attention after birth and are admitted to the Magee-Womens Hospital Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pennsylvania’s
Magee is an active collaborator and partner with the March of
Dimes and many state health officials who are working to lower Pennsylvania’s preterm
birth rate 8 percent by 2014.
Magee’s Hyagriv Simhan, M.D., supports these efforts and says women can take these steps to help
give their babies a healthy start in life:
Tomorrow is World Prematurity Day, a global event designed to raise awareness of pre-term births. To learn more, check out this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story about prematurity and the March of Dimes 5th Annual
Premature Birth Report Card.
- Get a preconception check-up before getting pregnant.
- Go to all prenatal care appointments, even when feeling
- Remember a full-term healthy pregnancy of at least 39 weeks is
best for the baby, so if a pregnancy is healthy don’t ask for an early
- Talk to the doctor about preterm labor warning signs and any family risk of preterm birth.
- Eat healthy foods, don't smoke, and