Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a Fight for Preemies

Today, November 17, is dedicated to raising awareness of premature birth (before 37 weeks).  1 in 8 children in the US are born premature, leading to time spent in NICU and dangerous complications.  In my house 2 of my 3 children were born premature.

For some of us (especially Moms of Multiples) we get it early on.  We know that our children are not going to make it to full term and we start weighing our options and setting benchmark dates early on.  I think for us, it is easier to carry longer because we are very aware of the survival rates.

When I was pregnant with my singleton, no one ever said a word about benchmark dates other than my "due date" and no one said a word about the need to make it as long as possible. I believe that every pregnant woman should know what dates are important for the chance of their child's survival and how to strive for those dates. Because the reality is nearly 13 million babies are born premature each year and more than 1 million of those don't make it.

If you, or someone you know (I sound like a commerical) are pregnant, do some research, educate your self and then pass it along.  The March of Dimes or the Mayo Clinic  has loads of information in addition to what I have below.
  • Week 22 - the first time life outside of the womb is possible, but with the most risk
  • Week 25 - your baby almost weighs 2 lbs
  • Week 27 - the branches of the lungs are just starting to develop, chances of survival increase
  • Week 34 - organs almost fully developed, except for lungs
  • Week 35 - lungs almost fully developed - but still the chance of the incubator
  • Week 37 - baby is considered full term (even though your due date is still 3 weeks away and your baby needs to grow more in size)


  1. good morning! i finally got up the award you gave me many moons ago and i tried to let you know yesterday that it was up, but somehow there weren't enough hours in the day! so thanks again! and if you get a sec come check out who I passed it on to!

  2. ok i am back. my son was born at 36 weeks and was 7 lb 1 ounce and thank goodness never had any health issues. my daughter was born at 38 weeks and weighed exactly the same, which i thought was so cool. and she was perfect too. i am a blessed mommy.

  3. Both of my sets of twins were born early. C & B were born at 32 weeks and G & L were born at 34 weeks. Everyone tells you that every day in the womb makes such a huge difference and it is definitely the truth.

    Just that extra 14 days in the womb made a drastic difference in everything with G & L. C & B had more serious issues compared to them. Thank goodness, all our kids are healthy now!

  4. My son was born just over 3 weeks early. They had to induce because there was blood incompatibility and I had to have 3 blood transfusions to the umbilical cord while I was pregnant and then he had to have 3 more after he was born. Though he was early he still weighed a whopping 7 lbs. And he survived my body trying to fight him off. Needless to say, no more kids after that incident, waaay too stressful. He still spent a week in the NICU after he was born though.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story and those stats! You're so right - every week and day counts. It always amazes me to hear moms of singletons comment as early as a month before their due date that their baby could come at any time and they'd be happy. They don't know what fire they're playing with! And what if their EDD is off and they are actually only 32 weeks along instead of say 34?

  6. Amazing how doctors do not stress this in singleton pregnancies. I had no idea aobut benchmark dates at all until my twins. I just cruised right along until 40 weeks and then the twins and I still had the research about the benchmark dates! I love it! I need to link to your post on this! So so important. This is why the US sucks in infant mortality rates because of the failure to educate properly about pregnancy.

  7. I've never had to deal with these issues as my kids had to be forced out of me. But I think it's great that awareness is spreading. I had no idea so many babies were affected.

  8. Popping in from SITS!
    I am blogging for preemies today as well!

    It is great to know those benchmark dates. I had my first daughter at 36 weeks but, she was 6lbs 1oz. and 19 in. She was in good health and I was able to go home with her.

    I am blogging about my god child who was born at 27 weeks and she was able to overcome obstacles that she was faced with. She's seven months now and doing well.

    Thanks for the information.

  9. I am thrilled that you sound like an infomercial; the more people know about their pregnancy an its possible outcomes the better. Thank you so much for helping us get the word out.

  10. The stats are so staggering. Just incredible.


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