New Book Details Successful Program to Prevent Preterm Birth

White Plains, New York | Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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Details of a program that successfully reduced preterm birth are available for health care professionals in a new book from the March of Dimes.

Thousands more babies were born full-term in Kentucky after the Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait® program successfully was piloted there. The program, which was aimed at preventing preterm birth and giving women the information they need to make healthy decisions during pregnancy, now has been expanded to other states. Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®: A Collaborative Partnership to Reduce Preterm Births in Kentucky Through Community-Based Interventions, 2007-2009, describes this innovative initiative, developed by the March of Dimes and the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute (now Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions) to respond to an alarming rise in the preterm birth rate in the United States that peaked in 2006.

Data published in the book demonstrate that HBWW achieved a statistically significant reduction in preterm birth rates over 60 months, not only in the intervention sites in Kentucky but also in the comparison sites and the remainder of that state. It provided evidence for an effective program that is now being applied in other communities, including Kentucky, Kansas, New Jersey New York, and Texas.

“We’re honored to be part of the creation of Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait, which adopts a comprehensive community-based approach to prevent preterm birth.” says Joy Marini, Executive Director at Johnson & Johnson, “Mothers and children are the heart of Johnson & Johnson. The success of this program has inspired us to continue efforts in preterm birth prevention and care around the world, including support of the expansion of Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait in the US.”

The book can be purchased online at

Today, the preterm birth rate in the U.S. has fallen to 9.6 percent. However, preterm birth still affects 380,000 babies – or 1 in 10 – each year, and is the number one killer of newborns.

“To give every baby a healthy start in life, we must increase best practices in preconception and pregnancy care, and promote community-based programs such as Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait programs include consumer and professional education, public health interventions that augment existing public health services, and clinical interventions in the preconception and prenatal periods. The program seeks not only to decrease preterm births but also to change the attitudes and behaviors of providers and consumers regarding risk factors for “preventable” preterm birth.

Caring for the world, one person at a time, Johnson & Johnson has envisioned a world in which women and children are healthy and thrive. This belief, grounded in our Credo responsibility to communities around the world, has inspired our decades – long commitment to the health and well – being of women and children. Working with our partners, we bring health care expertise and assets to help achieve life–changing, long – term improvements that help people and communities to attain their greatest potential.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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