Having a child should be a joyous occasion for a woman and her family, just as every child should begin life healthy. However, that’s not always the case. Every year, 20 million babies are born too soon, too small and very sick ― half a million of them in the United States. November is Prematurity Awareness Month through the March of Dimes. November 17 is dedicated to helping build awareness of the growing problem of premature birth, as well as raising funds to support the Fight for Preemies.

Premature birth [born before 37 completed weeks of gestation] is the leading cause of infant mortality during the first month of life, killing one in eight babies born in the United States. Sadly, many of the infants who survive — roughly 100,000 each year — often face the challenges associated with lasting disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and learning problems, chronic lung disease, and vision and hearing problems; making half of all neurological disabilities in children related to premature birth. Helping mothers and their babies reach term can help reduce the nation’s infant mortality rate while providing each baby with a better chance for a healthy start in life.

I am very passionate about healthy pregnancies and the prevention of premature birth, and hope to use my position as a Registered Dietitian [and place in the blogosphere] to help promote this cause much more in the future — starting today. If you would like to help support the MOD and their Fight for Preemies, you can make a donation or create a band in honor of your own premature baby or with someone else in mind. If you’re unable to donate, please keep these babies and families in your thoughts. Thanks for your help!