November is Prematurity Awareness Month
Premature birth is birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and in addition to increased risk of infant mortality, it can cause lifelong health problems for babies.
Did you also know that prematurity disproportionately affects women of color?
Any woman can experience preterm labor or preterm birth; however, the prematurity rate among African American women in New York is 48% higher than the rate among all other women in the state according to the March of Dimes 2016 Premature Birth Report Card.
Healthy Baby Network program staff are committed to raising awareness about premature birth and helping families reduce their risks. We are especially committed to supporting women of color to help reduce this disparity in birth outcomes.
For example on World Prematurity Day (November 17), the Healthy Start program is joining the March of Dimes, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York and Centering Healthcare Institute in hosting a conference for OBGYN practices throughout New York State. This event will allow sites offering CenteringPregnancy to pregnant patients to share best practices in reaching patients and sustaining this model of care. CenteringPregnancy has been shown to reduce prematurity, increase birth weight, reduce the number of babies that are small for gestational age, and increase breastfeeding initiation. Most importantly, Centering has been shown to eliminate or significantly reduce health disparities for women of color.
CenteringPregnancy and other programs supported by the Healthy Baby Network help moms reduce their risk for premature birth by ensuring they have access to:
- Good health care before, during, and after pregnancy
- Social supports (like friends and family) to help tackle the challenges of pregnancy
- Stress reduction and mental health services
- Sexual health, pregnancy, and parenting information
- Tools and resources to plan their own families and futures
- Access to community services that help meet other needs such as baby supplies, housing, and employment
Visit the March of Dimes website if you would like more information about premature birth and how to lower risks.
Written by Valerie Garrison, Healthy Start Project Director for Healthy Baby Network
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About Deanna Spiotta
Deanna is the Communications Director for Healthy Baby Network.