WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., SEPT. 25, 2009 Journalists are invited to attend a gathering of the nation's leading maternal-child and quality assurance health care experts who will review and develop programs that may help lower the nation's costly preterm birth rate.
The symposium, which will be held Oct. 8 and 9 in Arlington, Virginia, is a collaborative project of the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Attendees will review existing programs developed by state officials, health systems, health insurers, hospitals and clinicians, that successfully lower cesarean section and induction rates and improve care and services for pregnant women and babies. Some of the highlighted programs will be:
Preterm birth is a serious and costly health problem, and is the leading cause of death in the first month of life in this country. More than 540,000 babies one out of every eight are born too soon each year in the United States, and the rate has increased more than 20 percent in nearly 20 years. Babies who survive an early birth face serious risks of lifelong health problems, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss, and other chronic conditions including asthma. Even infants born just a few weeks too soon have a greater risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), feeding difficulties, temperature instability (hypothermia), jaundice and delayed brain development.
"There are tools out there that can successfully prevent preterm birth whether by ensuring that a c-section is medically necessary, or by screening pregnant women for diabetes, or by offering them access to smoking cessation programs," said Alan R. Fleischman, MD, medical director for the March of Dimes. "At this meeting, OB-GYNs, pediatricians, nurses, hospital administrators, health insurers and policy makers will share their best practices and create a plan that will outline education and intervention opportunities and begin to reverse the serious increase in our nation's preterm birth rate."
Among the nationally-known experts who will present at the meeting are:
|Contact: Elizabeth Lynch|
March of Dimes Foundation