Saving Babies - Premature Birth Prevention
If You Are Pregnant:
- Learn about the risk factors for premature birth.
- Know the warning signs of preterm labor (see below).
- Every year, more than half a million babies—that's 1 in every 8—are born prematurely in the United States. The rate of premature birth has risen by 30 percent since 1981.
- Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide.
- Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk of lifelong disabilities.
- Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year.
A prenatal diet rich in folic acid reduces the risk of certain birth defects, including spina bifida, by as much as 80 percent. Folic acid can be found in:
- - Most daily vitamin supplements (400 mcg/day)
- - Prenatal vitamins
- - Green leafy vegetables
- - Peas and beans
- - Breads, cereals, pastas, and rice fortified with folic acid
Pregnant women should learn how to recognize and appropriately respond to the signs and symptoms of pre-term labor. Pregnant women experiencing the following conditions should know to seek immediate medical advice:
- - Contractions
- - Pelvic pressure
- - Change in vaginal discharge
- - Leaking of fluid
- - C low dull backache
- - Menstrual-like cramps and abdominal cramps
Printable Brochures and Videos
- Learn more about premature birth, risk factors, consequences, and opportunities for prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.