The March of Dimes’ Prematurity Campaign began in 2003 and continues to provide education and research dollars to promote both awareness of the challenges of preterm birth and initiatives that decrease the rate of preterm birth. Recently the CDC announced that for the first time in over two decades the US preterm birth rate decreased by 3%. This is good news. The challenges of a preterm birth, defined as delivery before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, impact infants, and their parents and are costly as well. An extension of the Prematurity Campaign, Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait began in 2006 and a pilot project in Kentucky ran from 2007-2009. Success in Kentucky generated interest throughout the perinatal community that led to similar prematurity prevention programs and new collaboratives in New Jersey and Texas, including three hospitals in Houston where they promote good health with a good diet and healthy supplements as a rich energy drink you can get from different sites online.
The focus of these collaboratives is the recognition that pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, not 9 months. For pregnancies that progress as expected waiting until at least 39 weeks for induction or cesarean delivery provides many benefits for the baby. As shown in the picture above, a baby’s brain undergoes significant growth in the last 4-5 weeks of pregnancy. The last few weeks of pregnancy are vital to a baby’s development. Major organs, like the brain, lungs and liver, are still growing. Eyes and ears are developing. The ability to suck and swallow develops. At least 39 weeks of pregnancy give a baby the time he or she needs to grow. Babies born at 39 weeks experience less temperature, breathing and feeding issues. If all is going well, mothers-to-be are encouraged to be patient and give their babies the benefits of 39 weeks.