It’s that time of year again! No, no, not Thanksgiving (though it’s ALWAYS a good time to give thanks)– tomorrow, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day. This is always super easy for me to remember because it is also my sister’s (a former preemie’s) birthday.
This is not a compensated post in any way, shape, or form. I blog, every year, about World Prematurity Day because it is something I am passionate about. Obviously, as the mother of a micropreemie, my life has been touched by prematurity. As I mentioned, I also have a sister who was born prematurely back in the 70s.
Here’s what I don’t think I really got before: Prematurity can affect anyone.
I knew babies arrived early. My sister came early when my mom was stricken with appendicitis. I didn’t realize that a mom could be perfectly healthy with no risk factors and STILL deliver too soon.
But then it happened to me.
Fact is, “every year, nearly half a million babies are born too soon in the United States. Our country’s premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent over the last 25 years. That’s serious cause for concern.”
Even if you are confident that you, personally, will not be affected by prematurity (and, forgive me, but that would be pretty presumptuous), you should be concerned about the impact that this crisis has on our pocketbooks. “Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year and takes a high toll on families. Babies born just a few weeks early are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities. Premature birth is the number 1 killer of newborns.”
The good news is that there are many of us who care, deeply, and who want to effect change. March of Dimes works tirelessly to address this crisis and help families have healthy, full-term newborns. With 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. being born too soon, our prematurity rate is significantly higher than most developed nations– we rank 131st in the world.
So… what can you do? Well, today, I’m going to suggest three quick things that can help:
1) Educate yourself. Ask questions of OB/GYNs, pediatricians, and preemie parents. Learn about the causes. Visit the March of Dimes site and poke around– knowledge is power.
2) Spread the word. Check out how your state ranks– March of Dimes has assigned each state a grade. Mine gets a B. While not terrible, there’s definitely room for improvement. The more we know and the more we share, the more empowered we all are in fighting the good fight. Pass on this post or something you’ve learned. Make sure people realize the impact prematurity has on all of us.
3) Donate, if you can. Every donation counts. What might seem like drops in a bucket can, together, save lives. If you don’t have a single dime to spare, your help is still needed. Maybe you have an old phone you can donate. Maybe you can walk in the March for Babies and get supporters. Details about all sorts of ways to help can be found right here.
I don’t often share stuff like this, friends, because it’s not really my “niche”, to be honest. But prematurity? That’s something I am compelled to talk about, obviously, and I don’t even mind begging a little bit.
Healthy babies? Are a very, very good thing. Can you help me spread the word?