Supporting Healthy Babies: Healthy Pregnancy For Reducing Prematurity

If you’re a regular follower then you know from mentions throughout several posts that I am a mother of two preemies; my first born 6 weeks early and my second at 3 weeks. I have even dedicated an article on premature infants. Preemies, or babies that are born prior to 37 weeks gestation, are at a greater risk for many health problems, SIDS, and infant mortality. That is why it’s so important to encourage healthy full-term pregnancies for reducing prematurity. It’s a subject that really hits close to home for me having had 2 babies born too soon and lost 3 pregnancies prior to having my second baby.

MOD2013As a mother who has seen both children spend their first few days of life in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit I know all too well the stress and hardship it causes on the family as well.  No parent wants to see their child behind glass or have to touch them through an incubator.  Organizations, such as the March of Dimes, helps to fund research for the conditions premature babies often face and to educate expectant moms for reducing prematurity rates. Every year they have a 5k run as a fundraiser for their support efforts* throughout the U.S. which I have participated in for the past 3 years through our local chapter.

Opening ceremony

Opening ceremony

We spent this past weekend at the 5k run which is always a fun event for the kids. Every year they have something different with activities for the kids that are donated from local businesses. For instance, this year they had train rides, putt putt golf, face-painting, and fun jumps. It’s a heart-felt moment hearing other families’ stories about their experience with their preemies. This year’s ambassador family that was featured had a baby born at just 27 weeks weighing just a little over 1 lb. It’s amazing to hear success stories and see these tiny babies thriving as young children, however not every family is so lucky.

MarchofDimes13*It should be noted that the March of Dimes, though has helped save thousands of lives through their mission and research, is NOT a completely non-for-profit organization. Only a portion of the proceeds from donations goes towards the cause. However, it is still a worthy cause that has helped raise awareness about reducing prematurity by helping to educate women on how to prevent pre-term labor and have healthy full-term pregnancies.

There are many non-profit charity organizations that help to support the families of preemie NICU babies. For instance, we have a local organization that brings handmade preemie clothes and blankets to the babies that spend weeks or even months in the NICU. It gives parents comfort seeing their tiny babies in these cute handmade clothes that are specifically made to fit little babies weighing less than 5 pounds who are too small for store-bought preemie clothes.

MOD13 snow ballHere are a few non-profit charity organizations that help support families of preemies:

Graham’s Foundation
PreemieCare
The Preemie Project

There may be a local organization in your area that provides support or donations to families of preemies and premature infants. If you or someone you know has been affected by premature birth, there are services worth seeking to help make the experience a little less stressful and scary on parents.

Another way you can help support premature babies is through breast feeding. How? If you breast feed and happen to have an overabundant milk supply you can send that extra milk to a certified milk bank which processes it so send to hospitals for NICUs. Because the antibodies contained in breast milk are vital to a baby’s nutrition, Prolacta Bioscience processes donated breast milk and fortifies it for use by preemies to help improve their health and well-being. Some women are very well-endowed with an over-productive milk supply that is more than what their baby consumes. If you should be so lucky send that extra milk to help babies in need rather than let it pile up in your freezer or go to waste.

Efforts for reducing prematurity are strongly advised to ensure the health of babies everywhere. Women who are of child-bearing age should maintain good health and take a folic acid supplement. Over half of pregnancies are unplanned, so taking precautionary measures in case you conceive can help towards promoting a healthy pregnancy (and ideal for your overall health in general).

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