Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why I Walk pt 3.

Part 1 - My Story
Part 2 - Parker's Story

Part 3: March of Dimes Facts & Statistics - For More info go to March of Dimes.

More than 543,000 babies in the U.S. are born premature every year - this equals 1 in 8. (1400 a day)

The rate of the premature birth has grown 30% since 1981

Premature birth is the number 1 killer newborns.

Premature babies cost 10 times baby than healthy babies.

Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year.

The Following Info is taken directly off the March of Dimes website.

Complications in the newborn
Some premature babies face serious complications, including:
  • Respiratory distress syndrome, which is a serious breathing problem that affects mainly babies born before 34 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Bleeding in the brain, called intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), which is most common in babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. It can cause pressure in the brain and brain damage.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus, which is a heart problem that is common in premature babies. Untreated, it can lead to heart failure.
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which is a potentially dangerous intestinal problem.
  • Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which is an eye problem that occurs mainly in babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. In severe cases, treatment is needed to help prevent vision loss. We have made progress in learning about the routes that lead to preterm delivery. But we have a long way to go in developing treatments to prevent it. Researchers agree that we need to develop better screening tests to identify women destined to deliver early, and treatments that can be used early on to interrupt the cascade of events leading to prematurity.

Why women deliver early
In nearly 40 percent of premature births, the cause is unknown. However, researchers have made some progress in learning the causes of prematurity. Studies suggest that there may be four main routes leading to spontaneous premature labor.
Infections/Inflammation. Studies suggest that premature labor is often triggered by the body's natural immune response to certain bacterial infections, such as those involving the genital and urinary tracts and fetal membranes. Even infections far away from the reproductive organs, such as periodontal disease, may contribute to premature delivery.
Maternal or fetal stress. Chronic psychosocial stress in the mother or physical stress (such as insufficient blood flow from the placenta) in the fetus appears to result in production of a stress-related hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH).  CRH may stimulate production of a cascade of other hormones that trigger uterine contractions and premature delivery. 
Bleeding. The uterus may bleed because of problems such as placental abruption (the placenta peels away, partially or almost completely, from the uterine wall before delivery). Bleeding triggers the release of various proteins involved in blood clotting, which also appear to stimulate uterine contractions. 
Stretching. The uterus may become overstretched by the presence of two or more babies, excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, or uterine or placental abnormalities, leading to the release of chemicals that stimulate uterine contractions.

These four routes are not the only things to consider. Other factors, such as multiple pregnancy, inductions and cesarean sections, can also play a role. But knowledge about these four routes may help scientists develop more effective interventions that can halt the various chemical cascades that lead to premature birth. 

What we know about prematurity
Today more than 1,400 babies in the United States (1 in 8) will be born prematurely. Many will be too small and too sick to go home. Instead, they face weeks or even months in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complications and death; however, most, eventually, will go home.
But what does the future hold for these babies? Many survivors grow up healthy; others aren't so lucky. Even the best of care cannot always spare a premature baby from lasting disabilities such as cerebral palsy; mental retardation and learning problems; chronic lung disease; and vision and hearing problems. Half of all neurological disabilities in children are related to premature birth.
Although doctors have made tremendous advances in caring for babies born too small and too soon, we need to find out how to prevent preterm birth from happening in the first place. Despite decades of research, scientists have not yet developed effective ways to help prevent premature delivery.

In fact, the rate of premature birth increased by more than 20 percent between 1990 and 2006. This trend and the dynamics underlying it underscore the critical importance and timeliness of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign. The rate fell to 12.3 percent in 2008 from 12.7 in 2007, a small but statistically significant decrease. 

This is why I walk....please help us! you can donate using the the purple button on the left hand side. Also, you can join our team and walk with us on May 1st here in Columbus Ohio. Or you can walk in your local town!

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