Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Another cause that is dear to our heart since Ella was born at only 24 weeks old. There are over half of a million babies that are born too soon each year and just in Minnesota over 150 babies are born early each week and enter the NICU world (March of Dimes). Many of those babies stay for an extended time within the NICU.  We hope Ella's Halo will be able to bring comfort to these babies and families during their stay at the hospital while they struggle to grow.

A premature birth, which is before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, is the most common cause of neonatal death. The earlier a baby is born, the more likely he or she will die either due to prematurity or other complications. When Ella was born at 24 weeks I remember the Doctor telling us that there was a 30% chance she wouldn't make it those first few days. Lucky for us she did survive for three more months, but ultimately it was complications from prematurity that took her life after 83 days. The longer a baby can stay in the womb, the higher the percentage is for that baby to survive.

It gives me hope to know that while premature death is still very common, medicine and techniques for these babies are improving and the survival rate gets much higher each year. March of Dimes fights to put an end to premature birth, the number one cause of infant mortality. And so during this month I hope that awareness is brought to everyone to see the impact that a premature birth has on babies, their families and NICUs.


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