World Prematurity Day raises awareness to give every baby a fighting chance

March of Dimes and Driscoll Health Plan are raising awareness to help give every baby a fighting chance.

Throughout November — Prematurity Awareness Month — March of Dimes draws attention to the
lifesaving research, treatments and community support made possible when we work together to give every baby a
fighting chance.

March of Dimes and DHP encourage everyone to stand together on World Prematurity Day — this Friday, November 17 — and show their support by sharing the color purple in a way that highlights their spirit.

Here are some facts from March of Dimes:

  • Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under 5 worldwide. It’s not just a problem in some far off place — it’s right here, too. It affects babies in communities across the country.
  • The premature birth rate in our country is higher than that of most developed nations. The emotional toll that premature birth takes on families in the United States and around the world is immeasurable.
  • In the United States, 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely.
  • Each year in the United States, more than 380,000 babies are born preterm — that’s one baby every two seconds. Some are so small they could fit in the palm of your hand.
  • Every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide.

Every day, families face the heartbreaking realities of premature birth.

  • Premature birth and its complications affect babies of all races and ethnicities.
  • Babies aren’t fully developed until at least 39 weeks gestation. Important development of their brains, lungs and eyes happens during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
  • Premature babies can have serious health problems at birth and later in life.
  • Babies born too early may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision.
  • Babies born even a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk for long-term health
    problems like cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss.
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