Posts Tagged ‘infant mortality’

September is Infant Mortality Awareness month

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. According to the CDC, in 2015 the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. That means that in 2015 over 23,000 infants died before their first birthday.

Causes of infant mortality

In the US, the leading causes of infant mortality are:

  1. Birth defects
  2. Premature birth and low birthweight
  3. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  4. Maternal pregnancy complications
  5. Injuries (such as suffocation).

What can you do?

Not all causes of infant mortality can be prevented. But there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risks of certain birth defects, premature birth, some pregnancy complications, and SIDS.

Take a multivitamin with 400mcg of folic acid. While there are many different types of birth defects, taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (NTDs). Some studies show that it also may help prevent heart defects and cleft lip and palate.

Get a preconception checkup before pregnancy. Being healthy before pregnancy can help prevent pregnancy complications when you do get pregnant. Your provider can also identify any risk factors and make sure they are treated before you get pregnant.

Get early and regular prenatal care. This lets your provider make sure you and your baby are healthy. She can also identify and treat any problems that may arise during your pregnancy.

Stay at a healthy weight and be active. Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy may help you to avoid some complications during pregnancy.

Quit smoking and avoid alcohol and street drugs. Alcohol, drugs and harmful chemicals from smoke can pass directly through the umbilical cord to your baby. This can cause serious problems during pregnancy, including miscarriage, birth defects and premature birth.

Space pregnancies at least 18 months apart. This allows your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy. Getting pregnant again before 18 months can increase the chance of premature birth, low birthweight, and having a baby that is small for gestational age.

Create a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Put your baby to sleep on his or her back on a flat, firm surface (like a crib mattress). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you and your baby sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed, for the first year of your baby’s life, but at least for the first 6 months.

The March of Dimes is helping improve babies’ chances of being born healthy and staying healthy by funding research into the causes of birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

 

 

U.S. study shows fewer babies are dying in their first year of life

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. A new report released by the CDC shows that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. dropped 15% from 2005 to 2014. In kangaroo-care-242005 the rate was 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2014, the rate dropped to 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births.

While the study did not look at the underlying causes of the decline, it did report valuable information:

  • Infant mortality rates declined in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The other 17 states saw no significant changes.
  • Declines were seen in some of the leading causes of infant death including birth defects (11% decline), preterm birth and low birthweight (8% decline), and maternal complications (7% decline).
  • The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) declined by 29%.
  • Infant mortality rates declined for all races, except American Indian or Alaska Natives.
  • Infants born to non-Hispanic black women continue to have an infant mortality rate more than double that of non-Hispanic white women.

“On the surface, this seems like good news. But it is far from time to celebrate,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes. “What is concerning, though, is that the inequities between non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians and the Caucasian population have persisted.” Dr. Jarris adds, “This report highlights the need to strengthen programs that serve low income and at-risk communities, especially those with the highest infant mortality rates.”

The infant mortality rate is one of the indicators that is often used to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants.

What can you do?

Having a healthy pregnancy may increase the chance of having a healthy baby. Here are some things you can do before and during pregnancy:

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Three quarters of a century young (yes – we’re 79 years old!)

Monday, December 19th, 2016

fdr-warm-springs-kidsIt’s that time of year, when magazines are full of stories and photos of the year in review, and people look back to take stock of their accomplishments. This post is taking it a step further…here is a celebration of our past 79 years!

Why the dimes? (we get this question a lot)

The March of Dimes was started in 1938 when Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. It was a time when polio was on the rise nationwide. The name for the fundraiser “March of Dimes” was coined by comedian and radio personality Eddie Cantor as a pun on a popular movie newsreel of the era, The March of Time. Cantor asked his radio audience to send dimes to the White House to help polio patients and support research. After billions of dimes were received, the organization became known as the March of Dimes. The end result of this effort was the development of the polio vaccines, which have almost completely rid the world of this disabling disease.

check in boxIt is very unusual for a nonprofit organization to fulfill its mission as completely as that of the March of Dimes. So, when the March of Dimes checked off the box on the successful development of the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines, we turned our focus to that of preventing birth defects and infant mortality. With thousands of birth defects on record, we’ve had our hands full.

Our work after polio

The March of Dimes has funded research looking for the underlying genetic causes of birth defects to help us better understand what can go wrong and hopefully how to prevent them. We’ve funded research into the development of surfactant therapy to treat breathing problems in premature infants, which has saved thousands of lives since 1990. We’ve successfully championed and promoted newborn screening so that more infants with devastating conditions are identified and treated in a timely manner; and we led the campaign to add folic acid to grain foods in the United States, thereby reducing serious birth defects of the brain and spine by 27%.

We began educating the public on how to have a healthy pregnancy by producing a robust website of articles, print materials, this blog, and using social media to help women understand what they can do to have a full-term, healthy baby. We began answering individual health questions from the public in 1996 and still continue to answer thousands of questions every year.

But we didn’t stop there.

Our work with babies, birth defects and infant mortality provided a natural transition into fighting premature birth, the number 1 cause of deathPassing the time while your baby is in the NICU among babies in the U.S. Nearly 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely. Despite the advances in neonatal medicine, many babies still die, and the ones who survive often face a lifetime of disability – from mild to severe. In short, it is simply something that we knew we needed to fight.

So, in 2003 we launched our Prematurity Campaign. And in 2011, we launched the first of five prematurity research centers, each one staffed by the best and brightest scientists, and each one focused on a different aspect of prematurity. The best part of this 5-pronged approach is that the researchers all talk to one another and collaborate, encouraging synergy. Our goal is to be as successful with ending prematurity as we were with eliminating polio.

We also continued in the quest to allow folic acid to be added to corn masa flour in the U.S., and…drum roll please…we were successful this year! This is very important for the Hispanic community as corn masa flour is a staple for many Hispanic families. Fortifying corn masa flour products such as tortilla chips, tacos, and tamales, with folic acid will help prevent more devastating neural tube birth defects like Spina Bifida.

Wait…there’s more…

In the meantime, another related mission has surfaced – stopping the Zika virus. The devastating effects that Zika can have on a developing baby are well documented (microcephaly, congenital Zika syndrome, and developmental delays).

The March of Dimes led a coalition of almost 100 organizations to educate Congress about the dangers of Zika and was successful in the passage of federal funding to combat the virus. We continue to raise awareness with our #ZAPzika campaign to let women know how to protect themselves. By working with the CDC, we‘re educating the public about this virus so that pregnant women can protect themselves and their babies from Zika.

Yes. We’ve been very busy. The past 78 years have gone by quite fast.

Is there anything else in our future? Glad you asked!

A new March of Dimes President.

With the start of 2017, we will be under the leadership of President, Stacey D. Stewart, MBA, a woman of experience, intelligence, creativity and integrity. We’re so excited to welcome her.

The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

We are confident that under the leadership of Ms. Stewart, we will once again check off the box on a mission accomplished.

 

 

PREEMIE Act signed into law

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

On Nov. 27th, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 252, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, a bill to reauthorize federal research, education and intervention activities related to preterm birth and infant mortality.

“The PREEMIE Act represents the federal government’s commitment to reducing the devastating toll of preterm birth,” stated Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes.  “By signing this bill into law, President Obama has enabled vital research and education on the prevention of prematurity to continue.  The March of Dimes is deeply grateful to him, as well as the authors of the PREEMIE Act – Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) – for their tireless efforts to ensure that no baby is born too soon.

“Today, one in every nine U.S. infants is born preterm.  Due to concerted efforts by the March of Dimes and our partners, this number has gone down for the past six consecutive years, but it is still too high.  Prematurity can lead to a host of adverse health consequences for these babies and place a terrible strain on their families.  In addition, preterm birth carries a significant cost to businesses and our economy.  The average premature birth costs 12 times as much as a healthy birth.  The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will sustain the vital federal investment in promoting healthy pregnancies, healthy infants, and healthy families.”

Preterm delivery can happen to any pregnant woman; in many cases, the cause of preterm birth is unknown. Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal death, and those babies who survive are more likely to suffer from intellectual and physical disabilities. In addition to its human, emotional, and financial impact on families, preterm birth places a tremendous economic burden on the nation.  A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine found the cost associated with preterm birth in the United States was $26.2 billion annually, or $51,600 per infant born preterm. Employers, private insurers and individuals bear approximately half of the costs of health care for these infants, and another 40 percent is paid by Medicaid.

S. 252 was endorsed and strongly supported by a wide range of organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of City and County Health Officers, and more.

The original PREEMIE Act (P.L. 109-450) brought the first-ever national focus to prematurity prevention.  The Surgeon General’s Conference on the Prevention of Preterm Birth required by the Act generated a public-private agenda to spur innovative research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and support evidence-based interventions to prevent preterm birth. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act reauthorizes critical federal research, education and intervention activities related to preterm birth and infant mortality.

Thanks to all our volunteers!

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

youth-volunteers1This week, April 21-27, is National Volunteer Week and we want to give an enormous shout out to all our wonderful volunteers. These are the extraordinary folks who make this organization great.

More than 3 million volunteers enable the March of Dimes to achieve its goals. Every year, these leaders march more than 5 million miles, speak to tens of thousands of people about the mission and help raise millions of dollars. From the very earliest days, volunteers have been full partners in the March of Dimes, working to raise funds, heighten awareness and implement critical programs to help support our mission.

This diverse group of volunteers, led by a local volunteer leadership of approximately 3,000 chapter and division board members, brings knowledge, business experience and passion to ensure the March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  We celebrate their leadership and that of our corporate partners and national service partners! We also have bright and energetic youth councils working in high schools and colleges. We have had celebrity volunteers from the early years (Eddie Cantor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley…) to today’s hot tickets like Pink, Dee Snider, and Thalia!

With the support of these exceptional, high-impact volunteers, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Thank you all so, SO much for what you do during this special week and all throughout the year!

Tackling infant mortality through innovative health education

Friday, September 14th, 2012

PrintToday’s post is written by Sarah Ingersoll, Text4baby Campaign Director, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

September marks National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and while millions of families prepare their children for a new school year, this is also a time to reflect on the thousands of families who have lost a child far too soon. The infant mortality rate (6 in 1,000 live births) in the U.S. is one of the highest among developed nations and rates are much higher within the African-American community, regardless of income, educational level, or location. More than twice as many African-American babies die compared to their White counterparts during the first year of life, statistics that reflect a true health crisis in our country.

We know that providing mothers with the best possible information and access to care can help. This is where text4baby comes in. Text4baby is the nation’s first free text messaging service for pregnant women and mothers of infants under age one. Moms receive three text messages every week, timed to their due date or baby’s birth date, throughout pregnancy and up to baby’s first birthday. Moms get information on labor signs and symptoms, developmental milestones, breastfeeding, car seat and sleep safety, and many other topics. To sign up, textBABYto511411.

In honoring Infant Mortality Awareness Month and striving to empower more moms with text4baby, those who sign up between September 1 and September 30 will be entered to win a year’s supply of baby products courtesy of the program’s Founding Sponsor, Johnson & Johnson. Sign up now and be sure to share with your friends and loved ones!

Learn more at http://text4baby.org/. Follow up on Facebook and twitter (@mytext4baby)!

Healthy Babies Challenge

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Forty-eight states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have pledged their support to give more babies a healthy start in life by reducing premature birth and infant mortality, the March of Dimes and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) announced today. One goal of the Healthy Babies Challenge is decreasing the country’s prematurity rates by 8 percent by the year 2014.

Nearly half a million babies, just less than 12 percent, are born too soon each year.  It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and others. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and more than one million die each year.

Meeting the 2014 goal would lower the nation’s preterm birth to about 11 percent, and save about $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs.

In addition to the physical and emotional challenges associated with prematurity, a 2005 Institute of Medicine report found that preterm birth and associated complications had cost the United States at least $26.2 billion that year. Reducing prematurity offers Healthy Babies Challenge participants the opportunity to save lives and reduce healthcare costs in their states.

From coast to coast, and without regard to politics, health officials in these 48 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico have signed on to help more babies get a healthy start in life.  Participating state health departments are partnering with the March of Dimes to address infant health needs, including helping more women quit smoking during pregnancy, promoting breastfeeding, increasing access to prenatal care, and conducting the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” initiative with hospitals to educate the public about the health benefits carrying a baby full term.

In addition to ASTHO and the March of Dimes, many other organizations and agencies have funded and worked on programs with the common goal of improving birth outcomes. The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs has long been a leader in the field; the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Healthy Start has been working to eliminate health disparities in child and maternal health for two decades; the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies recently launched the Strong Start program to “reduce the risk of significant complications and long-term health problems for both expectant mothers and newborns;” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed maternal and child health as priorities in both Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020.

For more information on the Healthy Babies Challenge, read the full press release.

U.S. infant mortality rate down

Friday, May 18th, 2012

graph-going-downMore than 1,000 fewer babies died before celebrating their first birthday between 2007 and 2008, and many of them had the benefit of a full-term pregnancy, according to data just released by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The United States infant mortality rate declined 2 percent from 2007 to 2008. The rate dropped to 6.61 from 6.75 deaths for every 1,000 live births. The NCHS report found that all of this decrease in the infant mortality rate can be accounted for by a decrease in preterm births. While infant mortality rates were relatively unchanged between 2000 and 2005, this recent improvement represents a 4 percent decline in infant mortality since 2000 and a 13 percent decline since 1995.

“This data conclusively demonstrates that preventing premature birth saves lives,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse president of the March of Dimes. “But 28,000 babies still did not live to see their first birthday. No parent should ever have to experience the pain of losing a child from prematurity, or from any other cause.”

The U.S. preterm birth rate peaked in 2006 at 12.8 percent. It has dropped for four consecutive years to just less than 12 percent in 2010. Much of this improvement can be attributed to a decline in the rate of infants born just a few weeks early, which may be linked to better hospital practices that discourage elective early deliveries that can result in premature births.

The new NCHS statistics show that the earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of death, but Dr. Howse says it’s important to note that even babies born just a few weeks early — between 34 and 36 weeks gestation — have a death rate three times as high as babies born at full term. In 2008, nearly two-thirds of all infant deaths occurred in the first month of life, and two-thirds of all infant deaths were preterm babies, according to the NCHS.

The March of Dimes has set a goal of lowering the national preterm birth rate to 9.6 percent of all births by 2020. This goal can be achieved by a combination of activities, including: giving all women of childbearing age access to healthcare coverage and preconception and prenatal care; fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, progesterone treatments for women as appropriate, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary; and by funding new research into prevention of preterm birth.

Premature birth research grant

Friday, April 13th, 2012

In one of the most significant fundraising achievements by one company for a singular cause, Kmart announced it has reached the $100 million fundraising milestone in support of March of Dimes. After nearly three decades of charitable giving by its customers and associates, March of Dimes will recognize Kmart for its fundraising efforts with a $1 million grant for transdisciplinary research into premature birth in honor of the retailer. The grant will help fund clinical studies with scientists from different fields working together to investigate areas including maternal genetic biomarkers, placental function and genetics, and the patterns of preterm births in the U.S., among others.

As part of Kmart’s ongoing commitment to children’s health and wellness, the retailer will collaborate with March of Dimes for the 29th consecutive year to raise funds to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

“We are delighted to have reached such a remarkable fundraising milestone, with $100 million raised, to help improve the health of babies tomorrow,” said Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO and president, Sears Holdings. “Our associates and customers have proven the very principle on which March of Dimes was founded—that many people giving a little can make a tremendous impact. But, we can’t stop here. We challenge everyone to contribute in some way today, one small act of kindness, because together we can make an enormous difference.”

As the March of Dimes’ longest-standing corporate supporter, the two organizations have helped achieve a six percent decline in the premature birth rate, yet more than 1,400 babies are born prematurely every day. In fact, the rate of premature birth in the U.S. has increased by 36 percent in the last 25 years, proving that there is still much work to be done.

For the 20th consecutive year, Kmart also is a national sponsor for the annual March for Babies® walks, which will take place this spring in 900 communities across the country. For more information on how to donate or find the nearest March for Babies walk, visit www.kmart.com/kmartforkids or www.marchforbabies.org/.

A light on infant mortality

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Did you know that the U.S. rate of infant death is worse than 28 other nations? Learn more by watching our video.