november: prematurity awareness month?

dear world,

V came into the world about 10 weeks ahead of schedule. she spent 6 weeks in the NICU and when we brought her home, assumed the roles of primary caregivers just like every other parent who brings home a new baby. the biggest difference for us is that we got to know each other a little first.

apparently, the march of dimes has determined that november is prematurity awareness month. i am conflicted about this because i’m simply not certain how creating an awareness month can influence all the nuances of what leads to premature birth.

npr did a story earlier this month regarding the infant mortality rate in the united states compared to other industrialized countries. the US is ranked 30th and the primary reason is:

The percentage of infants born preterm in the United States has risen 36 percent since 1984. Infants born at 37 weeks or before have a greater risk of death or disability than infants born full term.

the story mentions several well known reasons for premature birth like smoking, obesity and an increase in fertility treatments, but for those of us with no identified reason for premature birth i find this to be frustrating. the story also mentions that once babies are born early, caregivers do a very good job of saving them, but how does donating to the march of dimes reduce the risk of premature birth in this country? even the march of dimes notes that “In nearly 40 percent of premature births, the cause is unknown.”

i appreciate that more research is necessary to solve the mystery of why babies come early. i tend to keep stories like this close and choose how much information to share with strangers. maybe this leads to why i don’t want to have to pay attention to raising awareness surrounding premature birth. i feel like sometimes it just happens and women should work with their doctors individually to do everything possible that will help carry a baby to term. each woman is different and i’m having a hard time recognizing a one size fits all solution.

however, i do not wish the experience of an early birth and early baby to anyone.



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