Expectant mothers hope to have a healthy baby, but many are unaware of the silent crisis that affects more than 10% of the births each year. Dr. David Smith tells us that 70% of newborn deaths can be attributed to complications from premature delivery.
The the amount of pre-term births has steadily increased during the past two decades. Dr. Amy Thompson, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Texas Tech Medical Center, says we don't know 100% of the time what causes pre-term labor.
They find that through some basic scientific research, and studies in women who do have premature delivery, that there are some subtle changes that occur at the interface between the placenta and the uterus of the mom. Good prenatal care is vital to delivering a healthy baby.
Dr. Thompson says that they educate moms on risk factors that can contribute to pre-term delivery and those would include mothers who have already experienced one pre-term delivery between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy or have experienced maternal activities such as cigarette smoking, chronic infections, and any pregnancy that's complicated by multiple babies.
Babies born before 32 weeks are most at risk of having health problems such as hearing, vision, and lung development difficulties.
The March of Dimes has targeted premature births as a major problem in the United States. Prematurity now affects one out of every eight births.
If you have questions about pre-term births or birth defects contact our local March of Dimes at (806) 797-6771.