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Vickie Currens , Published October 30 2009

‘March’ focuses on prematurity

Unless you know someone whose baby was born prematurely, being born a few weeks early probably doesn’t seem like a big issue. With amazing health-related technology and the world-class care of neonatal intensive care units, most babies who are born before their nine months go home. But the facts are that prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of lifelong disability.

According to the Institute of Medicine, preterm birth is also costing our nation at least $26.2 billion annually. It’s impossible to quantify the costs for families – emotional costs that go well beyond medical bills.

That’s why the March of Dimes in North Dakota is actively working to ensure access to health care coverage or smoking cessation, etc. because of the importance of good prenatal care to improve birth outcomes.

Because November is Prematurity Awareness Month, we especially urge the Legislature to take action on this. Doing so will help reduce health care costs, help our communities and ensure that more of our babies survive and thrive.