My first pregnancy started out pretty normally.
The first trimester was almost halfway over before I even knew I was pregnant. The months flew by, and as we got ready for our baby, I just hoped for a delivery that was as easy as possible. Though gestational diabetes made my diet a little less adventurous (no 3am ice cream runs), things were going well–but a routine test to monitor the baby’s development turned into my being rushed to the hospital –and at just 35 weeks, The DJ was born.
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born premature, and more than 1 million die as a result. Preterm babies often have “lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities.” (marchofdimes.org)
We were lucky. Although he was born a full month before his due date, The DJ only stayed in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for three days. Some families have more challenging circumstances, with babies staying in the NICU for weeks or even months.
The March of Dimes aims to create awareness for those families and the 1 in 10 babies (in the U.S.) born premature each day.
Their mission is to “improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.”
In 2012, the March of Dimes set a goal of lowering the national preterm birth to 9.6 percent of all births by 2020. Through funding research to find the causes of premature birth, educating women about reducing their risk and the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, and generating concern and action around the problem, they hope to change the rate of babies being born too soon.
The DJ and I were able to help support the March of Dimes’ mission when he was just 6 weeks old.
Now it’s your turn.
Your family can participate in generating awareness of Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day by visiting facebook.com/worldprematurityday. Share stories and videos about your baby or a baby you love and learn from families around the world. The World Prematurity Day page also features an interactive map for you to add your story.
So go purple for preemies this month–help support the March of Dimes and the families around the world affected by prematurity. Volunteer, advocate, participate and support at marchofdimes.org.