Prematurity Awareness Month: Promoting a Healthy Start
- In recognition of Prematurity Awareness Month in November, Crozer-Keystone Health System (CKHS) celebrates its commitment to supporting area families through its comprehensive maternity services and its ongoing support of the March of Dimes.
- The CKHS maternity centers at Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) in Drexel Hill and Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland are recognized each year for supporting the mission of the March of Dimes, which is dedicated to promoting full-term, healthy pregnancies, and assisting families whose children are born prematurely.
- To encourage healthy births, the March of Dimes emphasizes the importance of prenatal care for all moms, and specialized care by a maternal-fetal medicine doctor for moms who have had a premature birth and are therefore at greater risk for another premature delivery.
Crozer-Keystone Health System (CKHS) is dedicated to helping new moms and babies get off to the healthiest start possible. This November, in recognition of Prematurity Awareness Month, Crozer-Keystone Health System celebrates its commitment to providing outstanding care for Delaware County families through its maternity centers at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland and Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) in Drexel Hill.
To promote the best beginnings for mom and baby, Crozer-Keystone provides board-certified perinatologists who are trained in the care of high-risk women during pregnancy, as well as dedicated neonatologists who are trained to care for babies who are born prematurely or with special needs.
Also, Crozer-Keystone continues to support the mission of the March of Dimes, which is dedicated to supporting full-term, healthy pregnancies and assisting families whose children are born prematurely. This year, the March of Dimes will acknowledge the staff at DCMH and Crozer-Chester with a plaque of appreciation, as it has every year since the March of Dimes began its annual Day of Gratitude during Prematurity Awareness Month in November of 2005.
What Expectant Parents Should Know
According to the March of Dimes, nearly half a million babies are born prematurely (or before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) each year in the United States. Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss. Prematurity and its complications cause about 25 percent of neonatal deaths, the March of Dimes reports.
On a positive note, there has been a very modest but definite decrease in premature births for the sixth year in a row, says Dolores Smith, state director for program services and government affairs of March of Dimes in Pennsylvania. To support the healthiest outcomes, Smith emphasizes that parents who are planning or expecting a baby should:
- Have a physical before they become pregnant and work with their healthcare provider to manage any chronic conditions.
- Be sure to receive regular prenatal care to ensure the best health for mom and baby.
- Seek additional support from a maternal-fetal medicine physician if they have already had a preterm baby (this puts them at increased risk for another preterm birth; a maternal-fetal medicine specialist can help parents plan and prepare for future pregnancies).
Even though some premature births are inevitable, Smith notes that every extra day and week of gestation helps to support the healthiest birth.
Parents of premature babies often have many questions about their children’s development — from the first days at home to the first days at school and beyond. For support, the March of Dimes invites them to visit these two Internet resources:
Shareyourstory.org provides a place for parents to share their family experiences and find encouragement and support from other families who may be having similar experiences.
Ask us at marchofdimes.com, a free service supported by March of Dimes, provides health information specialists who can answer questions parents may have at any time along the course of their child’s development from infancy to adulthood. This is intended solely as a resource, and contact information will not be used to solicit donations or for any other reason.
It’s important for parents to know that there are resources out there to help them, says Smith. Annual Prematurity Awareness Month provides a welcome opportunity, she says, to get this message out and to thank nurses, physicians and other care providers for their support.
For a referral to a CKHS OB/GYN or more information about maternity services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, call 1-855-CK-BABIES (252-2243), or visit us on the web.