November 17th marked the 3rd annual World Prematurity Day- a day for us to reflect on how we can work to prevent premature births. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for babies in the first months of their lives; over 15 million babies are born before 37 weeks each year and over 1 million die before they reach one month.
The sad thing is, in many cases, treatment is available but practices haven’t evolved to put treatment options into action. Around 75 percent of premature babies who don’t survive could likely have been saved by low cost treatments such as antenatal steroids to speed up development of their lungs and direct skin-to-skin contact with their mother immediately after birth to keep them warm. Many practitioners around the world haven’t been adequately trained in these practices- a situation we hope can be remedied.
If you’re interested in learning more about World Prematurity Day or about statistics on premature births, please check out the March of Dimes website for additional information.