Nov. 17 is World Prematurity Day, created to raise awareness of premature births. Many people are unaware they are the No. 1 killer worldwide of children under the age of 5. A new effort is underway to lower the rate of premature births.
The March of Dimes estimates 15 million babies worldwide are born premature, and nearly 1 million of them die due to complications from their early delivery into the world. Babies who survive an early birth face an increased risk of life-long health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, or learning disabilities. In Texas, 10.3 percent of all babies born are born premature, compared with 9.6 percent nationwide.
While the percent of preterm births in the United States has been declining since 2007, the March of Dimes says the numbers are still too high. “Many communities, as well as specific racial and ethnic groups, continue to suffer from the tragic and costly consequences of double-digit rates of premature birth,” the organization’s news release said. To mark World Prematurity Day, the March of Dimes announced a plan to reduce the nation’s preterm birth rate to 5.5 percent by 2030, focusing first on states with large numbers of premature babies, including Texas. The campaign “outlines specific interventions health care providers and officials can take to prevent preterm birth.”
Learn more about World Prematurity Day and March of Dimes’ “Prematurity Campaign Roadmap.”