By: Melissa King, DO
A little known fact about me… over 30 years ago I was born between 28 and 29 weeks gestation, 11-12 weeks premature. Although I do not have the greatest hand eye coordination – remember this if you ask me to play on a team sport, I have developed rather well. According to my mother, at the time I was born she was told that I stood little chance of survival and that if I survived I would likely experience a long, uphill journey. From the stories that my mother and father share, along with the many families I have known that have traveled a similar road, I feel very blessed to have delivered two healthy full-term babies and to not have experienced their pains or stressors.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day sponsored by March of Dimes. For the past 4 years my family has walked in a March of Dimes walk here in Dayton in support of ending prematurity. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) the preterm birth rate in the US has dropped for the 6th consecutive year, however our preterm birth rate is higher than any other developed country. Prematurity, defined as birth at < 37 weeks gestation, is the #1 cause of newborn deaths. Babies that survive being born prematurely face higher medical costs and often lifelong medical problems such as breathing problems, digestive problems, delays in development and learning, and vision problems.
How can you learn more?
Check out the March of Dimes website – www.marchofdimes.com
How can you become involved?
- Volunteer with the local chapter
- Become an advocate
- Encourage pregnant women to stop smoking
- Donate your time or your money
- Educate yourself and others on prematurity
- Stay happy and healthy!
Dr. King is a general pediatrician in the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s and the mother of two kids. As part of the “Dr. Mom Sqaud,” Dr. King blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. King!