One baby out of every ten is born prematurely, and premature birth is the No. 1 killer of babies. The March of Dimes works year-round to make strides to reduce the incidence of premature birth. The March for Babies is the organization’s largest fundraising event, which will be held locally Sunday, April 30 at 9:00 a.m. The walk kicks off at Paul Brown Stadium and is sponsored in part by St. Elizabeth Healthcare. There’s both a three-mile and five-mile walk route.
Kentucky has a 10.8 percent preterm birth rate, which is higher than the U.S. average of 9.6 percent.
“Some of these babies do not survive and many that do spend days, weeks or months in the neonatal intensive care unit and will have lasting consequences like breathing or learning problems,” said Lisa Holloway, maternal and child health director for March of Dimes in Cincinnati and Columbus.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare is sponsoring #WhyIWalk bibs for walkers to write a short note and wear during the walk, as well as the #WhyIWalk tent where all March for Babies participants can share their connection to the mission and learn educational information on having a healthy baby, plus infant and child CPR learning opportunities.
The March of Dimes supports programs, advocacy and research that will reduce preterm birth, so that more babies will be born healthy and full-term, Holloway said.
While the reason for premature labor and birth is often unknown, there are some things women can do to reduce their potential risk. The March of Dimes offers these suggestions:
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol use street drugs or abuse prescription drugs.Ask your provider about programs in your area that can help you quit.
- Go to your first prenatal care appointment as soon as you think you’re pregnant.During pregnancy, go to all your prenatal care appointments, even if you’re feeling fine. Prenatal care helps your provider make sure you and your baby are healthy.
- Talk to your provider about your weight.Ask how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Try to get to a healthy weight before your next pregnancy.
- Get treated for chronic health conditions,like high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid problems.
- Protect yourself from infections.Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or blowing your nose. Don’t eat raw meat or fish. Have safe sex. Don’t touch cat poop.
- Reduce your stress.Exercise and eat healthy foods. Ask for help from family and friends. Get help if your partner abuses you. Talk to your boss about how to lower your stress at work.
- Wait at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again.See your provider for a preconception checkup before your next pregnancy.