Tuesday, November 17, is World Prematurity Day. Each year this day is dedicated to raising awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of premature babies and their families.
According to the March of Dimes, the complications of preterm birth outranked all other causes as the world's number one killer of young children. An estimated 15 million babies around the world are born preterm and the March of Dimes said more than a million die as a result.
"Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities."
The March of Dimes has asked everyone to participate in World Prematurity Day by sharing stories and photos on Facebook.
Learn more about World Prematurity Day here.
Tips to a healthy pregnancy: If you want to give your baby the best chance of being born healthy, President and Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine and Obstetrician Training Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice says you should begin long before you get pregnant.
"The most important thing I would say is take your prenatal vitamins," she said.
Dr. Rice has the following recommendations:
- Start taking a multivitamin with folic acid, a B vitamin, which babies need for growth and development
- Go for a pre-conception check-up, asking your healthcare provider what you can do to get into the healthiest shape possible going into the pregnancy
- Try to get your weight to as normal a weight as possible
- March of Dimes strongly encourages women to wait a year and a half between giving birth and getting pregnant again, to allow their bodies to fully recover
- If you're not active, ask your doctors what you can do to start exercising
- Make sure your up-to-date on vaccinations going into your pregnancy
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol