March of Dimes, the nonprofit organization leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies, calls on families, partners and advocates to take action during Prematurity Awareness Month this November to raise awareness of and support for the 15 million babies affected by preterm birth each year around the world.
The preterm birth rate in the United States is on the rise for the third year in a row, a trend signaling an urgent health crisis for moms and babies, March of Dimes says.
Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the largest contributor to infant death in the United States and around the world. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems.
"March of Dimes believes that every baby deserves the best possible start, but we know that unfortunately not all babies get one," says March of Dimes president Stacey D. Stewart. "We can't do this alone. As a champion for families, we need thousands of voices to advocate for the passage of laws that promote the health of women, babies and families, such as the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act. We need more families to share their stories so those in the NICU know they're not alone. We need to reach more communities with the support and education they need. If we can come together as a community, we can create solutions that support healthy moms and strong babies not just in November, but all year long."
Earlier this month, March of Dimes launched a nation-wide campaign called #BlanketChange, designed to cultivate awareness about the urgent health crisis moms and babies face - including increased rates of maternal mortality and preterm birth - and inspire advocacy and action in support of the March of Dimes Blanket Change Agenda.
During Prematurity Awareness Month and the annual World Prematurity Day on November 17, March of Dimes will advocate for #blanketchange, celebrate families through events large and small, share inspiring stories, light the world purple, and raise funds for life-saving research and community-based programs to give every baby the best possible start.
This year, March of Dimes will also launch its inaugural digital gift catalog to make holiday purchases – including purple partner gifts that give back and inspired gifts that support the fight for the health of all moms and babies from partners including Alex & Ani, Kilyn’s Kitchen, Mud Pie, Care+Wear and more. View the catalog online at marchofdimes.org/giftguide.
On November 1, March of Dimes will release its annual Premature Birth Report Card, which grades all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus cities and counties around the nation, on their rates of preterm birth. The Report Card also reveals racial, ethnic and geographic disparities on preterm birth within states, raising awareness of the challenges March of Dimes and its partners are working to overcome.
Throughout the month of November, March of Dimes will conduct Days of Gratitude at local hospital-based NICUs (newborn intensive care units) across the country. "In this way, March of Dimes supports those who've been affected by premature birth, celebrates NICU graduates who have overcome many obstacles, and thanks caregivers, hospital staff and policymakers for the positive difference they've made," Ms. Stewart says.
March of Dimes events across the country also will include NICU baby showers; Prematurity Summits/Symposia; Perinatal Conferences; Maternal Health Equity Summits; Grand Rounds and webinars on prematurity prevention; Kangaroo Mother Care educational sessions at hospitals (Kangaroo-A-Thons), and more.
Landmarks and buildings throughout the U.S. are scheduled to be being bathed in purple lights during Prematurity Awareness Month, including the Empire State Building in New York City, literally shining a light on the challenge of preterm birth.
November 17 will be recognized around the globe as the 8th annual World Prematurity Day, empowering families, partners and friends to post messages of support and awareness across social media platforms. Socially-minded advocates and fundraisers can raise awareness of the preterm birth crisis, ignite action and celebrate families by posting messages on Facebook, Twitter, lnstagram via thesocialpresskit.com/march-of-dimes, sharing images of strong babies and tagging @marchofdimes with #WorldPrematurityDay, #PrematurityAwarenessMonth and #BlanketChange.
ALDI, Anthem Foundation, Pampers and Famous Footwear proudly support March of Dimes during Prematurity Awareness Month. Donations from individuals, families and corporate partners alike are critical to support efforts to help families who need it most before, during and after pregnancy, March of Dimes says. Whether shopping the inaugural gift guide, starting a Facebook fundraiser or visiting marchofdimes.org/donate, each contribution will fund the fight for the health of all moms and babies.