November is Prematurity Awareness Month and the 17th is World Prematurity Day– a great time to raise our voices and advocate for so many of the babies and families we serve.
Per the March of Dimes, “Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in the U.S. and globally. In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. The preterm birth rate (the percent of babies born before 37 weeks each year) is 9.8 percent in the United States. This means 1 in 10 babies is born too soon. The U.S. preterm birth rate is among the worst of high-resource nations.”
In the United States, some states have done better than others in either maintaining or decreasing their rate of prematurity. Learn more about your state (and city/county) here.
Racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in access to quality healthcare also persist. Click on ‘learn more’ in your own state, to view the race/ethnicity disparity ratio there.
Most days, your advocacy shows up in real time – every shift, diaper change, feeding, assessment, intervention, conversation with a family, and every new tiny patient that works his way into your heart.
This month use your voice/social media to raise awareness for babies in a different way. Share the statistics, the gaps in healthcare, and the concern you have for the rise in prematurity rates with your colleagues, friends, people sitting next to you on the plane, and/or politicians. March of Dimes makes it easy to gather and share the info.
As neonatal professionals, you already do so much. However, few people on the planet can translate the needs of premature infants and families as clearly and authentically as you can.
Your voice is needed. Your participation is meaningful.