The March of Dimes is working to help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. In South Carolina, we are addressing the rate of premature birth by focusing on smoking cessation, reducing disparities and improving maternal health between pregnancies.
Nationally, the March of Dimes has opened five prematurity research centers, where brilliant minds from a variety of disciplines are dedicated to finding the causes of premature birth, because babies born even just a few weeks too soon have higher rates of death and disability than full-term babies.
Premature birth is the No. 1 killer of babies, and those who survive an early birth face serious health challenges and are at risk for cerebral palsy, lung problems, vision and hearing problems and learning disabilities.
South Carolina received a “D” in the March of Dimes 2015 Prematurity Report Card, released last month. Our state is not doing as well as we should in preventing premature births. Too many of our babies must fight to overcome the health challenges of an early birth, and racial and ethnic disparities persist.
To find out how you can help raise awareness of premature birth, visit marchofdimes.org/southcarolina.
Manika Sharma, M.D.
Midlands Board of Directors, March of Dimes