As part of their prematurity campaign, the March of Dimes funds research and legislation and promotes Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait® and focuses national attention on premature birth during the month of November, Prematurity Awareness month. While the March of Dimes is currently promoting the November campaign, in actuality the organization works tirelessly every month of the year to fight the problem of prematurity on a state, national and global level.
Premature Birth Report Card by State
On November 1st, Prematurity Awareness Month kicked off with the release of the 2011 Premature Birth Report Card. Here in Massachusetts, we are happy to report an improvement in our rates and scored a “B” (up from last year’s “C”). This is a testament to the hard work that March of Dimes of MA has done in our state. The chapter has sponsored gatherings by physicians, midwives, nurse-managers, hospital administrators and payers so they could educate each other on the issues that contribute to premature birth. With financial support from the March of Dimes, the Massachusetts Perinatal Quality Collaborative was created to look at rates of elective delivery prior to 39 weeks across the state; an important initiative as evidence shows that scheduled delivery during early term for non-medical reasons can put babies at increased risk for complications, similar to those suffered by pre-term babies.
World Prematurity Day
November 17th marks World Prematurity Day, when the March of Dimes and their partner organizations worldwide dedicate resources to increase global understanding of the serious problem of preterm birth. To help with this campaign you can “Like” World Prematurity Day on Facebook and share your stories or read those of others from around the world. You can also help spread the word by updating your Facebook status with a message on premature birth.
Light the White House Purple
The March of Dimes is also involved in a national campaign to light the White House purple on January 3, 2013, the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes, “as a symbol of hope to families whose children are born too soon”. They need about 25,000 signatures and are about halfway there. If you are interested in offering your support, please sign the petition here: http://ow.ly/eBHkk. It’s a quick two-step process – just provide your name and email and then click on the link that’s emailed back to you. If your friends, family and colleagues are interested in promoting this goal, please encourage them to sign as well. If you have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, you can share the petition directly from the petition site.
We can all do our part to help raise awareness about the issue of prematurity and the great work that the March of Dimes has achieved and will continue to accomplish in the future.
Chris Just, RN, MSN, CNM
Executive Director of Prenatal Education