Prematurity Awareness Month
Prematurity Awareness Month is observed in November and raises public awareness about preterm babies and the challenges they face. In the U.S., approximately 380,000 babies are born prematurely every year, and that number increased between 2015 and 2019.
Premature birth is defined as a birth happening before the 37th week of pregnancy, which is three weeks or longer before the average 40-week pregnancy term. Babies born prematurely tend to have more health problems at birth and later in life than babies born to term.
During this month, everyone is encouraged to talk more about premature births and to support organizations that help premature babies, such as the March of Dimes.
The History of Prematurity Awareness Month
To trace the origins of this month, you first have to travel back to 2003. This is when the March of Dimes began its Prematurity Awareness Campaign—a campaign that highlighted the challenges faced by premature babies for the general public and encouraged people to donate to the cause. This month has been observed every November since.
Important Facts About Preterm Birth
We wanted to do our part in support of Prematurity Awareness Month, so we decided the best way to do that was to do some research and share some facts about preterm birth with all of our readers. So that’s exactly what we did, and the following facts are what we discovered and would like to share with everyone.
- Around the world, 1 out of 10 babies born is prematurely. That’s 15 million babies a year, and that number is rising.
- The main cause of death for children under the age of 5 worldwide is preterm birth complications.
- In 2015, preterm birth complications resulted in almost 1 million deaths.
- Over 75% of the babies who died from preterm birth complications worldwide could have been saved with timely, current, and cost-effective medical interventions.
- Some survivors of preterm birth complications will end up with disabilities such as learning disabilities, and/or visual or hearing problems.
- Across the world, preterm birth rates range from 5% to 18%.
- Girls under the age of 17 and women above the age of 35 are at an increased risk for preterm birth.
Observing Prematurity Awareness Month
Every November, the March of Dimes holds a variety of events that support research, provide education to the public, and advocate for premature babies. We highly recommend that everyone who can should support these events.
We also suggest that people spread the word about this month using the hashtag #PrematurityAwarenessMonth. Let us all come together to support premature babies and help advocate on their behalf.