Today is World Prematurity Day, a day to recognize and raise awareness about the severity of preterm births around the world. As a surrogacy agency that deals with the birth of children on a regular basis, American Surrogacy takes this subject very seriously and wants to make sure all of our prospective surrogates and intended parents know the truths about preterm birth.
Our surrogacy specialists and the fertility clinics and obstetricians we work with take important steps to reduce the likelihood that any children born through our program are preterm. We know just how hard intended parents and surrogates work to bring a baby into the world, so we will always do our best to keep everyone involved in the process safe — especially the baby at the center.
The March of Dimes is leading this year’s World Prematurity Day awareness campaign, and we encourage you to join in as well. Like the movement on Facebook and visit its website to receive information throughout November on lifesaving research, treatments and community support for those affected by premature births. Change your profile picture to a World Prematurity Day one, post a message of support today and use the hashtags #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday. When we all come together to spread awareness and hope, we can take great steps toward reducing the number of babies who start their lives in serious medical distress.
As part of the mission to raise awareness about premature babies, we’ve collected some of the most important facts you need to know:
1. About 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year.
A premature birth is any birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It can happen to any woman, and the reasons behind premature births vary widely. The March of Dimes campaign funds research to help determine these causes and prevent more premature births from occurring.
2. Last year, the U.S. preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years.
Overall, the United States earned a “C” grade for premature birth rates in 2016, based on the March of Dimes’ research. Key to this is the widening differences in prematurity rates across different races and ethnicities. The rates also vary across states; whereas Virginia has the lowest rate of 9.2 percent preterm births, Mississippi has a rate of 13 percent. You can view your state’s grade and report card here.
3. Preterm birth rates vary widely based on race and ethnicity.
In the U.S., black women give birth to preterm babies at a rate of 13.3 percent — a huge difference from Asian-Americans, who prematurely give birth at a rate of 8.5 percent. That means that the preterm birth rate among black women in the U.S. is 48 percent higher than the rate among all other women. These racial and ethnicity disparities also vary by state.
4. Premature births cost the U.S. $26.2 billion each year.
Babies born prematurely require additional medical and practical assistance that ends up taking a financial toll on not only parents, but schools, hospitals and the government. For example, premature births result in an additional $16.9 billion in medical and health care costs for babies and $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for mothers per year. About $1.1 billion must be paid for special education services for children with lasting effects from a premature birth.
5. Premature babies are subject to all kinds of life-threatening conditions.
In addition to being born before they’re ready to survive outside of the womb on their own, premature babies are more likely to develop many life-threatening complications, including:
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension
- And more
The world of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is incredibly stressful — and that unfortunately doesn’t always help these fragile babies. Many babies who are in the NICU can develop dangerous complications quickly as their medical status changes without warning. Medical complications aren’t the only lasting impact; the families of those babies born early are in constant stress over the health of their baby and often fall into financial distress, as well.
The good news is that there are organizations like the March of Dimes working to help reduce and prevent the likelihood that babies are born prematurely. With their help, physicians can use their research to hopefully begin saving more lives and creating a healthier pregnancy and birthing experience for all.
Get involved by sharing this article or the campaign on your social media accounts or donating to the March of Dimes today.