PRETERM BIRTH – GLOBAL OVERVIEW

WARRIORS:

In the spirit of acknowledging our own development The Neonatal Womb Foundation will “tweek” our Foundation affirmation statement from “Lighting the way, building community, empowering the NICU traveler” to an expanded affirmation of “Lighting the way, building community, empowering the NICU/Preterm Birth traveler” in order to represent our intent to bring light, empowerment and connection into the World of the preterm birth collective.

Today, we want to share a very brief overview of the preterm birth status of our global and national community through the “eyes” of some of well-known preterm birth resources.

WHO? …….

WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

WHO – Preterm Birth Overview: Preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of preterm birth, based on gestational age:

  • extremely preterm (<28 weeks)
  • very preterm (28 to <32 weeks)
  • moderate to late preterm (32 to <37 weeks).

Key facts – Preterm Birth

  • Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.
  • Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2013.
  • Three-quarters of them could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions.
  • Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.

Why does preterm birth happen?

Preterm birth occurs for a variety of reasons. Most preterm births happen spontaneously, but some are due to early induction of labour or caesarean birth, whether for medical or non-medical reasons.

Common causes of preterm birth include multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; however, often no cause is identified. There could also be a genetic influence. Better understanding of the causes and mechanisms will advance the development of solutions to prevent preterm birth.

The 10 countries with the greatest number of preterm births:

  • India
  • China
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Indonesia
  • The United States of America
  • Bangladesh
  • The Philippines
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Brazil

Nationally

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March of Dimes: The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

The March of Dimes, which was initially called the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 3, 1938, as a response to U.S. epidemics of polio.

Per Wikipedia the name “March of Dimes” — is a play on the contemporary radio and newsreel series, The March of Time — was coined by stage, screen and radio star Eddie Cantor. He inspired a nationwide fundraising campaign in the week preceding President Roosevelt’s birthday on January 30, 1938. Lapel pins were sold for ten cents each; special features were produced by the motion picture studios and radio industry; and nightclubs and cabarets held dances and contributed a portion of the proceeds.

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                                  Eleanor Roosevelt and Lucille Ball at the 1944 President’s fundraising      Birthday Ball (We LOVE Lucy)

In 1976 it became known as the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. In 2007, the name became the March of Dimes Foundation.

We appreciate The March of Dimes, a National non-profit organization that has grown into a globally connected and dynamic infant and maternal care resource.

The March of Dimes reports the following national preterm birth status:

  • 2015 premature birth report card – USA – 9.5% (per 100 births) – GradeC
  • Lowest Preterm Birth Rate by State – Oregon 7.7 per 100 births
  • Highest Preterm Birth Rate by State – 12.9 Mississippi
  • Lowest Preterm Birth Rate by City: Portland, Oregon – 7.2
  • Highest Preterm Birth Rate by City: Shreveport LA – 18.8

What can we learn from Oregon that will allow us to reduce preterm birth rates in Mississippi? And what can we learn from other nations that will help us move our C grade to an A grade in the USA?

RESEARCH has shown there are multiple factors contributing to the U.S.’s high preterm birth rate. This YouTube video (Why USA You Tube Published on Dec 20, 2014) may offer some insight!

 

WARRIORS-Surprised that the USA is in the top 10 of Countries with greatest number of preterm births? One of the joys of journeying globally if the opportunity to see the Neonatal Womb from various perspectives and to share information and experiences that will benefit and strengthen our pre-term birth community as a whole!

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Sources:

Fathers Day- A Hero’s Journey

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Neonatal Womb Warriors appreciates and honors the profound commitment and courage a NICU/Preterm birth infant father’s journey entails. THANK YOU!

WARRIORS: Today we celebrate Fathers. Each of us arrived into a world of unique and diverse family circumstances. Some of us are NICU graduates; while many experienced alternative pre-term birth care. We all have fathers or at least hopefully father figures in our lives. Unless we become NICU fathers, or make a concerted effort to gain the perspectives and stories of our fathers, it may be difficult to comprehend the challenges they faced as the parent of a premature infant. Too often their experiences are silenced and ignored.

An article from Preemie Babies 101 Hand to Hold Parent Blog article titled “An Interview With A NICU Dad”; provides a recent father’s response to a wife’s questions regarding a father’s preemie experience.

Article Link: http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2015/06/interview-nicu-dad/

Content from the article below  includes:

“ What is the greatest challenge for a NICU dad?

Dealing with the immense feeling of helplessness. I always felt it was my job to take care of my family and when something happens that is so out of your control, you just feel so powerless. And, then, when I had to go back to work two weeks after my son was born, it was extremely hard to only see him for a short time each day. I felt like I was missing out on so much! Plus, it’s impossible for co-workers and family to understand what you are going through, so there really is no one outside of the NICU that you can talk to about it.

What advice do you have for current NICU dads?

 As scared or uncomfortable as you may feel right now, try to help take care of the baby any way you can or are allowed to. Some of the nurses were better at this than others, but asking me to change my son’s diapers and bottle feed him helped to make the whole experience feel more normal. Hang in there and don’t isolate yourself because that will only make you feel worse. Your baby and your baby’s mother need you to be there as much as you can be. Also, I learned so much about my son’s health, and premature babies in general, from the many conversations I had with the nurses and doctors in the NICU. What I learned from them helped me feel less anxious and more confident that my son was going to be fine.”

YOU MAY NEED TISSUES……

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This you tube video shares the feelings and thoughts of a few preterm birth fathers, and may shine light upon this particular entrance into fatherhood.

Rex NICU Stories: Dad to Dad – Published on Mar 14, 2014

A Personal Thank you…..

Many preemie babies worldwide do not have a father to help care for them. Working as a volunteer in a local NICU I (Kat) witnessed an event in the life of a micro-preemie and the family that claimed her! Struggling daily to survive and thrive this little being was barely “keeping her head above water” until an amazing family came into her life! The effects of the couple’s loving visits were quickly noticed in the improvement of the baby’s vitals, and overtime, in the steady advancement in the baby’s overall health. Eventually, the baby left the NICU in the arms of the loving adoptive father and mother. The baby continued to grow and I have no doubt that the adoptive parent’s touch, attention, and deep love for the baby played a crucial part in the survival and vitality of the precious child.

MAHALO!

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Healers and The Neonatal Womb

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We want to SHOUT OUT this week to renown and globally cherished Healer AMMA, who will be visiting the Seattle area on her North American Tour (http://amma.org/meeting-amma/north-america) on June 4 and June 05, 2016. She has been an important part of our healing journeys for many years. Amma’s beauty, wisdom, grace and compassion inspire us daily. Please note that the global tour dates are also posted.

Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma , or the hugging saint, is widely regarded as one of India’s foremost spiritual leaders. Amma says that her religion is love. A compassionate healer, she has never asked anyone to change their religion; only to contemplate the essential principles of their own faith and try to live accordingly. But Amma is also an impassioned force to be reckoned with! She has created an International Network of Charitable Organizations -Embracing the World (http://www.embracingtheworld.org/ ) – an NGO with special Consultative Status to the United Nations that is active in 40 Countries. And although Amma may be small in stature, she is expansive of heart, a beautiful songstress who connects directly to the poorest of poor. The “Crown Jewell” health care center of Embracing the World, Amrita Institute of Medical Science or Aims (1600 bed super-specialty hospital ) is one of Asia’s most advanced and premier medical institutions. Interested in learning more about Amma and her humanitarian efforts ? You Tube videos and even full length movies are available for your viewing pleasure. And like Pope Francis and the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Amma radiates Joy! (when in doubt, choose Joy! Joy heals….).

Healers:

Merriam Webster defines Healer as one that heals. We are thinking that you and I could have come up with that definition!

“Acts” of healing may be mysterious, intentional , guided, unintentional, apparent or unrecognized. The presence and warm smile of an ER Patient Services Rep. can calm and inspire hope in the incoming patients and their loved ones. We have observed the obvious and subtle healing effects of particular wise and kind environmental service workers working within a health care setting. At times it seems that the disguise of anonymity provides an expanded opportunity to create, enhance, enable wholeness in ourselves and others.

 

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You know this is true! Pets are often healers!

Take a look at this informative and fun conversation about our pet buddies: Utne Reader Using Dogs as Healers :http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/using-dogs-as-healers-ze0z1408zhou.aspx.

WARRIORS:

WE have the capacity to enhance our own healing and support the healing of others. Our interaction and awareness of healers/healing in our lives is colored by our beliefs, education, cultural, societal, media presence, biology/biography and life experiences. The science of epigenetics may inspire us to choose to interpret our experiences with positive regard in order to enhance our own healing and well-being.

Many may be aware of contemporary well known healers such as:

Dr. Andrew Weil: an American physician, author, spokesperson, and broadly described “guru” for holistic health and integrative medicine, whose names also constitute an emerging brand of healthcare services and products in these fields-Wikipedia

Hawayo Takata: Hawayo Hiromi Takata, a Japanese-American born in Hanamaulu, Territory of Hawaii, who helped introduce the spiritual practice of Reiki to the Western World – Wikipedia

Judith Orloff MD, board certified psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA (http://www.drjudithorloff.com/about-judith-orloff.htm) advocates for “a democracy of healing”, wherein every aspect of our being is granted a vote in the search for total health. It is our birthright, both as health-care givers and health-care recipients, to reclaim our intuition to build energy and well-being.

Health Care Providers may also be powerful and effective healers. Those that are seem to have the ability to be deeply present with their patient, and whatever limited time they have with the patient may be experienced as “timeless”.

Why Healers?

We believe that the human experience is colored with opportunities for personal healing and abundant openings to impact the healing of others. Our unique and precious life journeys will allow us to deny, avoid, acknowledge, embrace and transform the challenges we face. Technology expands our capacity to access diverse and easily accessible health and healing resources, many of which are free! We do not have to wait for something to happen to transform us. We can choose to evolve in ways that empower and free us!

For preterm birth survivors in the USA there sometimes seem to be unspoken assumptions that may close rather than open doors to wholeness and healing. Please chew on this… and be aware that all humans have a right to experience wholeness, vitality, vulnerability and love.

Due to the substantial and increasing shortage of Health Care Providers it is incumbent upon us to empower ourselves and our communities with information that will expand our perceptions of healing, health and well-being. The global Neonatal Womb is in great need of expanded healthcare resources.

In a Publication dated November 2013, Global Health Workforce Alliance and World Health Organization; “A Universal Truth: No Health Without a Workforce” reported that there is a current deficit of about 7.2 million skilled health professionals. A projection model driven by population growth would lead to a global deficit of about 12.9 million skilled health professionals by 2035.

So while we determine how we may advance our Healthcare Workforce (the expansion of community health care workers is a compelling development globally and nationally) we can choose in this moment to acknowledge our ownership and abilities to positively impact our personal healing needs, desires and capabilities.

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