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.
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:
- The United States of America
- The Philippines
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
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.
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) – Grade – C
- 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!