All my facebook statuses for the Month of March just incase you didn’t catch them.
– Premature birth is a birth before 37 weeks completed gestation.
The rate of premature birth between 1981 and 2003 increased nearly 30% (9.4% to 12.3%). Currently, prematurity affects 1 in 8 babies with approximately 1,367 premature births a day and nearly 500,000 premature births a year in the United States (March of Dimes, 2006).
– According to the March of Dimes (2006), premature birth is the number one obstetric problem in the nation.
– Of all preterm births, most are a result of spontaneous preterm labor, about 25% are a result from early induction of labor or cesarean delivery due to pregnancy complications or health problems, and in nearly 40% of all cases the doctor is unable to determine a cause (March of Dimes, 2007).
– Racial disparities – African American women had the highest preterm birth rate with (17.5%) followed by Hispanic or Latin women (11.4%), white women (10.5%) , and Asian and Pacific Islander women (10.4%) (Healthy People 2010, 2000). Mattison, Damus, Fiore, Petrini, & Alter (2001), note that the disparities in premature birth rates amongst racial and ethic groups have been narrowing, unfortunately, it is due to an increase in the rates of preterm white infants and not due to a decrease in the other racial/ethnic groups.
– Today, premature infants have an increased chance of survival in large due to the advances of technology and the advancement of the medical community. For example, significant expansion of conventional and high-frequency ventilation therapies has taken place over the past decade improving oxygenation in some infants Cryotherapy and diode indirect laser photocoagulation are new therapies that have reduced visual impairment in infants with severe retinopathy of prematurity (when abnormal blood vessels and scar tissue grow over the retina).There have also been alterations in nutrition and feeding of premature infants, including the use of minimal enteral feeding, increased use of human milk and breastfeeding, and earlier introduction of protein and lipids in parenteral solutions.
– Premature infants are born with underdeveloped organs leaving them at an increased risk for disabilities and health complications.
– Possible outcomes include respiratory, gastrointestinal, hearing, vision, neurological, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive problems as well as, mental retardation and cerebral palsy
– Parents of premature infants have heightened levels of stress compared to those of full term parents.
– Substantial emotional and economic costs in their families and communities.
– According to the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center (2005), hospital charges for 25,000 infant stays with a principal diagnosis of prematurity/low birth weight in 2003 totaled $1.9 billion, with an average per stay charge of $77,000 significantly higher than uncomplicated newborn stay costs of $1,700. The March of Dimes estimated the total national hospital bill for inpatient hospital stays with any diagnosis of prematurity/low birth weight for this same year was $18.1 billion.
In 2001, the preterm birth rate was 11.9%, reflecting more than 476,000 newborns and the highest rate ever reported for the U.S. This represents 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. born prematurely.
The rate of preterm birth increased 27% between 1981 and 2001 from 9.4% to 11.9%.
On an average day in the U.S., 1,305 babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks), 213 are born very preterm (before 32 weeks).
Periodontal disease has been associated with preterm births in some studies.
Among racial/ethnic subgroups, preterm birth rates were highest among infants born to black mothers (17.5%) in 2001.
Major risk factors associated with increasing rates of preterm delivery include multiple births, advanced maternal age, induced deliveries and additional factors as yet unknown.
In 2000 prematurity/low birthweight was the leading cause of neonatal mortality in the U.S., accounting for 23% of deaths in the first month of life.
Causes of nearly half of all preterm births are unknown.
Preterm labor can happen to any pregnant woman.
THINGS LINKED TO PRETERM BIRTH
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 release of chemicals that stimulate uterine contractions.
Three groups of women are at greatest risk of preterm labor and birth:
Women who have had a previous preterm birth
Women who are pregnant with twins, triplets or more
Women with certain uterine or cervical abnormalities