11-09-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
The month of November is recognized as prematurity awareness month in order to educate expectant mothers on the risks and causes of premature labor. According to the March of Dimes, one out of eight babies in Ohio is born prematurely. Each year The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton sees nearly 470 infants in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
A preterm birth is defined as a live birth before the 37th complete week of development. In almost 40 percent of premature births, there is no clear cause; however, as medicine and research has become more advanced, progress has been made in identifying possible causes.
Some conditions that put moms at risk for delivering a premature baby include:
- Urinary, vaginal and sexually transmitted infections
- High blood pressure
- Clotting disorders
- Folic acid deficiency
- Certain birth defects in the baby
There are also many lifestyle choices that may put a woman at greater risk of delivering a premature child:
- Late or no prenatal care
- Drinking alcohol
- Using illegal drugs
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- Lack of social support
- Long working hours with long periods of standing
Before becoming pregnant, a woman can begin reducing her risk of having a premature birth by talking to a doctor about getting pregnant and learning what to expect. Most importantly, talk about the emotional and lifestyle changes that will come with becoming a parent. Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy increases the chances of a healthy birth. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid has been shown to also benefit mom and her developing baby.
Although all premature births are not preventable, many can be with the proper care and right choices. There are many signs of premature labor that include:
- Contractions every 10 minutes or sooner
- Change in vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pressure
- Low, dull backache
Be sure to call your health care provider or go to the hospital right away if you or a loved one is experiencing these signs. Call even if you have only one of the above symptoms.
About Dayton Children’s NICU
The level III regional newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Dayton Children’s is the region's referral center for premature and sick newborns. It has 41 beds including a state-of-the-art, developmentally centered unit that offers a full range of newborn care. This includes emergency and continuing care for premature and critically ill newborns.
For more information, contact:
Marketing communications specialist
Learn more about our strategic roadmap to the future.