year, more than half a million babies are born too soon, too small and
often very sick. Babies who survive often face serious health
challenges and can suffer from lasting disabilities.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month, Nov. 17 is Prematurity
Awareness Day, and MUSC is partnering with the March of Dimes to
protect our smallest patients and reduce the rate of premature birth.
There are several contributing factors to premature birth, such as
women of childbearing age who are uninsured and those who smoke.
Recommendations for improvement are given in each of these areas, for
example, federal and state support of smoking cessation as part of
maternity care. Another key recommendation is for hospitals and health
care professionals to voluntarily assess Caesarean-sections and
inductions that occur prior to 39 weeks to ensure consistency with
professional guidelines. Babies born even a few weeks early are at
greater risk of serious problems and re-hospitalization.
“The medical treatment of preterm labor has largely not been very
successful, particularly as the cervix becomes more dilated,” said Jill
Mauldin, M.D., Perinatal service line medical director. “As a result, a
patient’s best weapon to preventing preterm birth is knowledge of the
signs and symptoms of preterm labor so that she can adjust her activity
level accordingly and contact her provider when she has those symptoms.”
To educate more women in the community on those signs and symptoms,
Mauldin gives a weekly update on what to expect in pregnancy in her
“Pregnancy Week by Week podcast series;
http://www.muschealth.com/women/pregnancy_weekly.htm. Women and Infant
Services and the MUSChealth Web site recently took silver for the Best
in Class Innovators Award category at the Greystone Client Conference
for these weekly pregnancy podcasts.
In addition to educational efforts, MUSC bolsters March of Dimes’
mission through fundraising. The MUSC March of Dimes team, March for
Babies, hosts several fundraising events throughout the year, such as
Blue Jeans for Babies and various bake sales. This year’s Chef Auction
held Oct. 29 raised more than $83,000 for March of Dimes.
For more information about premature birth, to find out what you can do
to help raise awareness, make a donation, or create a virtual band to
honor a baby visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies.
Friday, Nov. 13, 2009