1 in 8 babies are born prematurely each year.
Each year 13 million preemies are born worldwide, over half a million in the US.
More newborns die from premature birth than from any other cause.
In nearly 4 out of 10 premature births the cause is unknown.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month and today, November 17th, is the first ever World Prematurity Day. Before Carter was born, educating myself about prematurity never crossed my mind. But after that day that changed my life, when Carter was born at 29w1d gestation, I realized how important it is to spread awareness. After all, the statistics above show how common it is!
Prematurity, defined as being born before 37 weeks completed gestation, disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs. At birth, preemies often have difficulty with breathing, feeding and maintaining temperature – all of which were true for Carter. Because their immune systems haven’t had time to fully mature, preterm infants are more likely to develop infections, and because their lungs are underdeveloped, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.
One illness that I had never even heard of before suddenly became one of our number one concerns – Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. In most full-term babies this illness is very similar to a common cold and, although some parents may never know their child has the virus, nearly every child gets it by the time they turn two. However, for a preemie, RSV can cause hospitalization and can even be fatal.
After Carter was born it became the number one goal of Jake and I to keep Carter healthy. I’m proud to report that he just had his first fever this week at 22 months old! I call that a success :)
Disclosure – In addition to wanting to spread awareness about prematurity, I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.