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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    SC Chapter and State Maternal and Child Health Organizations Recognize Hospitals Committed to 39 Weeks Quality Initiative

    Jacki Apel, Director of Communications, (803) 403-8523, JApel@marchofdimes.com

    Columbia, S.C., November 10, 2011 —

    The South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes, the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control held a press event to recognize South Carolina hospitals who have signed a letter of commitment to reduce elective inductions prior to 39 of pregnancy weeks unless medically necessary. The event took place at The South Carolina Hospital Association on November 10, 2011.

    The March of Dimes also announced the launch of an online pledge for expectant moms. The pledge gives moms-to-be an opportunity to commit to waiting until 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary to request an elective induction or C-section. The pledge is located at: Facebook.com/scmarchofdimes.com.

    Speakers at the event included:

    • Dr. Charles Rittenberg, Medical University of South Carolina and March of Dimes Grantee
    • Anthony Keck, Director, South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
    • Dr. Lisa Waddell Deputy Commissioner, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and March of Dimes Board Member
    • Dr. Fred M. Volkman, Chief Medical Officer, Select Health of South Carolina, Inc.
    • Stewart Davis, Expectant Mom and March of Dimes Volunteer

    Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks completed gestation, is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. 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, intellectual disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. At least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby’s health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.

    Commitments from South Carolina hospitals are a product of the Birth Outcomes Initiative, which seeks to reduce the number of low birth weight and premature babies in the state. The state ranks 46th nationally in percentage of preterm births and received a "D" grade on this year’s March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. One of the contributing factors to South Carolina’s grade are late preterm births (births at 34-36 weeks), which account for 10% of births in the state.

    About the March of Dimes

    Each year, the South Carolina March of Dimes invests more than 1.5 million dollars in our mission statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes continues to strive to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies. Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year including 184 babies in South Carolina in an average week.

    The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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