Lighting Up for Prematurity Awareness Day
About 1 in 8 babies in the United States is born prematurely each year. That's 543,000 premature babies. Worldwide, the number is a staggering 13 million. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death. And despite advances in medical technology, the rate of premature births has risen by 30 percent since 1981.
My own twins were born 19 years ago on November 17, nearly 16 weeks early, and it was a long, arduous journey to health. But premature birth is not just a personal crisis within the families it touches. We all pay the price. According to the March of Dimes, in 2005, the cost of preterm births nationwide was at least $2.6 billion, or about $50,000 per premature baby. That was five years ago, and we all know how health care costs have skyrocketed since then.
The March of Dimes is the leader in promoting prematurity awareness and has had November designated as Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17 as National Prematurity Awareness Day. This year, the Empire State Building will light its tower in purple and white to honor the day and promote awareness.
Those who don't have a clear view of the New York City skyline can still shed light on the issues of prematurity by following posts by more than 300 bloggers who are participating in the Fight for Preemies on Bloggers Unite. Read a little, learn a little, and help raise awareness of the risks and dangers of prematurity by sharing a link or two.