November 17 is World Prematurity Day. All over the world, premature births happen too often. According to the March of Dimes, premature birth is the number one cause of infant death worldwide. With approximately 15 million infants born early each year…including 500,000 in the U.S. and 6,260 in our very own Wisconsin (that's 1 in 10 babies), spreading the word on ways to prevent premature birth can literally save lives.
Babies born preterm are born before 37 weeks gestation. At the very least, babies born early (even just a week or two early) can have feeding problems, difficulty staying warm and keeping their blood sugar levels in normal range. At worst, they can die.
So what can we do? All of us can help! Encourage your family and friends to get good prenatal care if they are expecting! If you are pregnant, follow your provider’s instructions, keep ALL your appointments, ask questions, try your best to eat a healthy diet and get exercise, stay hydrated, avoid drugs and alcohol, ask for help when you need it, and don't schedule early inductions unless your provider confirms there is a medical reason to induce labor early. Overall, do your best to "Go the Full 40!" and increase your chances of the best possible birth outcome for your baby!