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Why we recognize World Prematurity Day

November 17 marks World Prematurity Day and Bundoo is sharing the message of the March of Dimes® as it works across the globe to decrease incidences of premature births. According to the March of Dimes®, 15 million babies are born across the world (about 380,000 in the U.S.) prematurely each year, and more than a million of those babies will die. Millions more will suffer significant health consequences because of their prematurity. 

Prematurity is defined as any baby born at less than 37 weeks gestational age and happens for a large number of reasons. Premature babies often require specialized care in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and then speech, occupational, and physical therapy, among other therapies long after being released home. Ongoing issues including cerebral palsy, poor growth, respiratory disease, and intellectual disabilities are all challenges that premature babies face as they grow.

Working to promote maternal health is one of the most important ways the March of Dimes® fights prematurity. The March of Dimes educates women and their families about good prenatal nutrition, staying fit before and during pregnancy, smoking cessation, drug use cessation, and a whole host of topics that help women stay healthy before and during pregnancy. Access to care, ensuring women have adequate resources to receive care, is one of the organization’s global passions.

The March of Dimes® funds research in the areas of prematurity, birth defects, and infant health and works with local, state, national, and international policy makers to improve the outcome for millions of women and babies each year. The organization also develops resources for the doctors, nurses, and healthcare teams that care for women and babies. Each year, the Premature Birth Report Cards are issued, allowing us to see statistically where the U.S. falls in relation to the rest of the world and the percent of premature births in each state. This year, with a prematurity rate of 9.6 percent, the U.S. scored poorly when compared to similar nations. The worst states were Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, while Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Vermont led with the lowest prematurity rates.

Getting involved in World Prematurity Day is just one way to support the March of Dimes®. Becoming an advocate, sharing a story, and spreading the word are others. Perhaps the most well noted events are the March of Dimes®, March for Babies which are fundraising walks held all over the country.

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About Dr. Sara Connolly, Bundoo Medical Director

Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician who practices in Palm Beach County, Florida. She completed her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she served as Chief Resident. She has a passion for child advocacy and has worked on the local, state, and national level to increase access to care for children. Her interests include nutrition, breastfeeding, and parenting skills.

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