Sunday, November 22, 2009

Alarming Pre-term birth numbers

I can relate to this problem. My new baby was not premature, but he did get oxygen immediately after birth and was put in the Level 2 nursery for 24 hours. I just got the bill this week and it's almost $5,000. I don't think there was any way around the situation though. I went into labor early and rushed to the hospital. I had great prenatal care and I don't smoke.

FROM NBC: Too many babies are being born too soon, the March of Dimes said this month. And it's costing the nation billions of dollars. Their new report gives the U.S. a "D" in efforts to prevent preterm births. It's the same grade we've earned for the past three years, and the March of Dimes says it's time for improvement. Josh Hoffman / born preterm "I'm in first grade."

That's a big deal for Josh Hoffman. He was born four months early. He weighed one pound, 11 ounces.
Melanie Hoffman / Mother :"It was absolutely the most terrifying experience. We didn't know if he would live." Despite multiple surgeries and lingering vision problems, Josh survived -- but lots of preterm babies don't. More than half a million are born in the U.S. every year, costing America 26 billion dollars.

Dr. Jennifer Howse / March of Dimes
"Pre-term births cost ten times more, in terms of medical and health care costs. This is a major league problem." Advocates believe many early births can be prevented: -By encouraging pregnant women not to smoke. One in five still do. -By getting uninsured women to doctors... To catch problems early. -By postponing elective c-sections and induced labor until 39 weeks. Experts say every day in the womb reduces the chance of serious problems.

Dr. Roger Young / University of Vermont obstetrician "Bowel problems... There's heat intolerance... There's feeding... There's a number of various things that happen. And every week the statistics get better." The March of Dimes gives the nation a "D" for efforts to prevent pre-term births. A third of the nation... 17 states... failed. The Hoffmans want families to learn from Josh's story: Lee Hoffman / father "Knowledge is power. It's really about educating everyone." And giving every baby a chance to be born healthy. The CDC's national goal is to reduce preterm births to about 7 and a half percent. Right now, we're over 12 percent.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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