Prematurity Awareness: What can you do?

IMG_7420Too many babies are born too small and too soon in Northeast Florida and across the country and world, a fact that is recognized during Prematurity Awareness Month. But what can we do to prevent these babies from premature birth?

Prematurity is influenced by factors like poor maternal health before and during pregnancy, smoking, lack of prenatal care and a rise in late preterm births.

A mother’s health prior to pregnancy has the largest impact on birth outcomes. Maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy blood pressure and managing or controlling medical conditions are all important for women, whether they are planning on getting pregnant or not.

Non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks gestation have increased significantly in the past 10 years and are associated with increased NICU admissions, breathing and feeding problems, increased risk of infection and increased rates of C-sections. If a pregnancy is healthy, women should wait for labor to begin on its own.

Our Healthy Start providers, who work with pregnant women and their families, shared what they think we can do to prevent prematurity: