Please join my family in recognizing another important calendar month. November is National Prematurity Awareness Month.

You don’t think it can happen to you, but you’re wrong. One in eight babies born in the United States will be born prematurely (before 32 weeks).  In Michigan, it is predicted that for 2010, 7.6% of all births in the state will be premature. This is actually down from 2007, where 12.5% of all births were premature. While the decline would indicate some improvement, it is still not good enough. (For more data on premature births in your state, please visit: http://www.marchofdimes.com/peristats/ ).

Why does this keep happening? What causes premature birth? Well, that is a very complicated question indeed. There are many factors that can play into preterm labor and in some cases, the reason is unexplainable. Our son was born too soon due to (what the doctor suspects) blood clots tearing holes in his placenta, which led to the leaking of amniotic fluid. We have no guarantee that our next child will be full term. In fact, in the hospital they explained to me that I now have a 40% likelihood of delivering early again, simply because I delivered early with Jack. That’s a huge percent!

The mortality rate for babies born into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)  is so much higher, that it makes delivering early, all the more frightening.  For example, in 2006 you will see that for all infant deaths in the state of Michigan, 70.5% occured in the NICU.

So you’re probably wondering why I am throwing all of these stats at you, why I’m bogging down your Happy Halloween with this information. I’m doing it to show you that this is REAL. Preterm birth is a real and very scary issue that needs to be addressed. You can help this month by spreading awareness about Prematurity and its many causes. Post a statistic to your facebook page,  donate to the March of Dimes, donate to your local NICU in support of the families spending night after tireless night at the side of their baby. Please, don’t let this issue go unvoiced. Because you never know, when it could be your baby inside that isolette.

~EH

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