Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Colorado Earns March of Dimes Apgar Award for Leadership in Prematurity Campaign

Colorado lowered its preterm birth by more than 8 percent since 2009, giving more babies a healthy start in life and earning it the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership Award. 

Colorado’s preterm birth rated dropped to 10.3 percent in 2011, down from 11.3 percent in 2009. About 650 fewer babies in Colorado were born too soon, saving an estimated $33.5 million. Colorado’s preterm birth rate dropped nearly 8.8 percent between 2009 and 2011.In Colorado, state health officials are working closely with March of Dimes staff and volunteers including the Colorado Hospital Association, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” educational campaign, which urges hospitals, health care providers, and patients to follow the ACOG guidelines that if a pregnancy is healthy, to wait for labor to begin on its own. The final weeks of pregnancy are crucial to a baby’s health because many vital organs, including the brain and lungs, are still developing. 

The March of Dimes says that if every state met the 8 percent challenge, it would push the nation’s preterm birth rate down to about 11 percent, giving an estimated 40,000 more babies a healthy start in life. Such a change could save about $2 billion in health care and socio-economic costs.

Preterm birth (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others.
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