November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, a time we can reflect on 400,000 babies born preterm each year in the United States. In the United States, each year, 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely, before completing the normal 37 to 40 weeks (about 9 months) of pregnancy. In this blog we hope to share the facts and raise awareness for this health crisis. 

About 10% of Babies are Born Premature 

In 2018, 1 out of every 10 babies in the United States was born prematurely. Black women are more likely to give birth prematurely than women of other races. 

The Cause of Premature Birth Can Be a Mystery 

While there are certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely, the cause often can’t be identified. Experts don’t know why healthy women without any known health issues sometimes give birth early. 

Most Preemies are Treated in the NICU 

If you give birth prematurely, your baby is likely to be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit also known as the NICU. They will receive around-the-clock care, so they are able to adapt to life outside the womb. 

Skin-to-Skin Contact is Beneficial for Premature Babies 

Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby relax and breathe more easily. It’s an effective way to stabilize low birth weight newborns. 

Premature Birth is the Leading Cause of Death Among Young Children 

The later a premature baby is born, the more likely they are to survive and lead a healthy life. Most babies delivered after 26 weeks (about 6 months) survive and those born after 32 weeks (about 7 and a half months) are less likely to have any long-term health issues due to prematurity. 

Premature Babies are More Likely to Face Challenges 

Premature babies miss important weeks in the womb which can impact their development. They are at a higher risk of experiencing breathing difficulties, feeding issues, developmental delays and problems with vision and hearing. 

The Right Nutrition Can Support Catch Up Growth 

Breast milk is packed with nutrition pivotal to your baby’s development. If you are unable to produce milk or your baby needs additional nourishment, ask your doctor about using a formula specifically made for preemies. 

Ensuring your baby grows up happy and healthy is a top priority for mothers. We hope we were able to educate you on the premature birth health crisis in the United States. We invite you to support everyone through their pregnancy and learn more about preterm birth.