Photo by PrinceEdsmommySome good pregnancy news: The rate of premature births has dropped for the second year in a row.
Though a small drop -- 3 percent -- the March of Dimes says it's significant and the result of years of awareness building, especially since the rate of premature birth between 1990-2006 rose 20 percent.
It's great that the numbers are finally starting to turn, but still 12.3 percent of babies --more than half a million each year -- are born too soon.
My son was one of them.
Due to severe preeclampsia, he was delivered via emergency C-section at just 27 weeks. He weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces and was 14 inches long.
My little, little guy fought for his life, and then fought to grow and gain for three months in the hospital.
He was one of the lucky preemies in that today he's a smart, strong, healthy 6-year-old. He, thankfully, has never had any noticeable repercussions from his ordeal. But so many other preemies do - from cerebral palsy to blindness, hearing loss, learning disabilities and other chronic conditions.
The March of Dimes says the following strategies can lower one's risk of pre-term birth: smoking cessation programs, progesterone treatments for women with a history of preterm birth, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments and avoiding unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks.
For more information on preventing prematurity, visit www.marchofdimes.com.
Have you experienced a premature birth?