Mamas on Bedrest: Are You Aware of Prematurity?

November 4th, 2011

November is Prematurity Awareness Month.

Throughout the month various organizations will be presenting programs to raise awareness about prematurity.

What’s most interesting to me is that prematurity and preterm birth are not discussed during pregnancy-at least they weren’t discussed during my first pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had complication after complication. It was with her that we contemplated bed rest, but she and I would always rally, we’d both settle down and we managed to keep going.  I went into labor at 36 weeks, 6 days. She was coming fast and furious and there was no stopping her! Still, I was unaware that she would be considered premature (she missed 37 weeks by a mere 4 hours!!) and that she would land in the NICU. I’m not going to rehash that story as I have already told it here. But I often wonder, given my complications and mishaps why no one ever mentioned,

“If this baby comes before 37 weeks, she will be considered premature. One out of every 8 babies is born premature in the United States. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born premature each year. These are the potential complications that could arise and if she is born early, she will likely be cared for in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). “

I realize that most OB’s prefer to be positive and to avoid “planting seeds of doubt” in minds that may already be “overactive”. But I was really taken aback the first time that I saw my daughter with a myriad of wires and leads attached to her and was scared out of my wits when I picked her up and an alarm went off. (It merely indicated that a lead had come off of her little foot, but the bells, whistles and lights that began wailing were frightening to say the least!). There should be at least some mention of preterm labor and preterm birth and what that means at some point in the prenatal period. Perhaps as each trimester begins, OB’s and midwives could review what is going on developmentally and what would happen if the baby were to be born at that point in time and how the baby would be cared for. That would have helped me greatly.

So Mamas on Bedrest, I am sharing a few resources here that I highly suggest you review. You don’t have to delve deep into prematurity, but be aware that if you are not at or beyond 37 weeks and your baby were to be born now, your baby is premature and will need special care-perhaps for years to come. Here are some resources to “keep handy”.

March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is quite frankly the most widely known organization dedicated to the health and well-being of babies. They have (in the United States) nationwide offices and resources on all things baby. They have supported extensive research and programs to promote full term pregnancies and to help prevent preterm birth. They run awareness campaigns for Prematurity Awareness Month and in January 2012 will host the Prematurity Prevention Symposium in Washington, DC.

The Preemie Primer

The Preemie Primer by Dr. Jennifer Gunter should be “required reading” for parents of preemies. Dr. Gunter is a mama to very premature triplets, 2 here and one in heaven, and shares how she combined her extensive knowledge as an OB/GYN and Rehabilitation physician to help with the care and development of her boys (now approximately age 8).

Fragile Beginnings Preemie Parent Alliance

A Massachusetts Based Coalition of Organizations, Fragile Beginnings is committed to improving the lives of parents of premature infants through direct support services, providing educational materials, as well as connecting them to community resources and to each other. They are hosting Prematurity Awareness, an event on November 16, 2011, to raise awareness about Prematurity in Massachusetts.

Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

We are constantly adding to our resource page for Preemie Parents as we learn of organizations and resources.

Do you have a preemie parent resource or other information on prematurity? Please share such information at info@mamasonbedrest.com so that we can make it widely available.

Connect with us on Twitter (@mamasonbedrest) and on Facebook.

2 responses to “Mamas on Bedrest: Are You Aware of Prematurity?”

  1. Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

  2. Darline says:

    Hi Tresa,
    You may repost the blog as long as you give a link back to the website and cite me as the author.

    I am glad that the information was/is useful to you and worthy of sharing with your audience. Please let me know where and when you post. Would like to visit your site.

    Thanks so much!
    Darline

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