Preemie Matters – October 2009

In this issue of Preemie Matters: Gearing Up for National Prematurity Awareness Month  •  Some Preemies Among the First Wave of H1N1 Vaccinations  •  LLL Resources on Breastfeeding Premature Infants  •  In November: MedImmune Premature Infant Summits in Chicago & Maryland  •  Psychology's Findings on Pregnancy Stress & Preterm Birth Risk

Gearing Up for National Prematurity Awareness Month

National Prematurity Awareness Month is right around the corner, when partners in maternal-child health will take part in a wide range of activities to increase understanding of this serious, common and costly problem, affecting one in eight babies born in the United States. March of Dimes has just launched a new website to mark National Prematurity Awareness Month, where visitors can purchase a virtual purple band in memory or honor of a child, make a virtual badge for personal Facebook pages, sign up for advocacy alerts, learn more about prematurity, find materials to share with expectant moms, and view individual states' report cards. During the month of November, corporate supporters will also take an active part in sharing the message. Motherhood Maternity will feature displays and raise funds in over 600 stores, Famous Footwear will do the same in 1,100 stores, and Johnson's Baby will raise awareness through displays offering 10 cents to March of Dimes for every product purchased in November. Visit the special website here.

Some Preemies Among the First Wave of H1N1 Vaccinations

Children age six months and older who were born prematurely may be among those advised by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice to be immunized against the H1N1 flu as soon as possible. The Committee's recommendations currently state that children (and adults) with certain medical conditions, such as neurological disorders, neuromuscular disorders, weakened immune systems, chronic lung disorders and blood disorders should be among the first wave to receive the H1N1 vaccine. To find where the H1N1 vaccine is available near you, use CDC's Flu Shot Finder website. For more information about H1N1 from CDC, click here.

LLL Resources on Breastfeeding Premature Infants

La Leche League International has created an online compilation of information, resources, and firsthand accounts related to providing preterm babies with breastmilk. The compilation page is a one-stop destination for all preemie breastfeeding information on their website, including FAQs, articles from their bimonthly members' publication, articles published for LLL leaders, and audio podcasts. The page also includes a link allowing mothers to share their own personal story of breastfeeding a baby born prematurely. Visit this resource page.

In November: MedImmune Premature Infant Summits in Chicago & Maryland

MedImmune's Premature Infant Summits, "Collaborating for Preemies: Challenges & Changes," are well underway. Two opportunities remain for you to attend one of these day-long programs featuring esteemed speakers and panel discussions. The Chicago, IL summit is scheduled for November 17 at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg. The Columbia, MD event is set for November 19 at the Hilton Columbia. Registration closes for both on November 6. Previous MedImmune summits have included presentations from preemie experts such as Eric Reynolds, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics Division of Neonatology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Maureen Boyle, Founder and Executive Director of Mothers of Supertwins/Preemie Care; and Ronald Ariagno, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus (active) at Stanford University School of Medicine. To register, send email to, or for additional information contact Amy Akers at (412) 741-0903.

Psychology's Findings on Pregnancy Stress & Preterm Birth

An article in the October issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Monitor magazine is shining a light on the connection between stress during pregnancy and the epidemic of preterm birth in the U.S. The article focuses on the research of Christine Dunkel-Schetter, PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles and her team, whose two decades of study on this issue have found that stress - especially in the form of worries and fears around pregnancy - strongly predicts preterm birth. Pregnancy anxiety has been associated with elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the mother's blood and a weakening of the mother's immune function, resulting in an increase in infections. Behavioral effects of poorly managed stress can also lead to behaviors like too little exercise or illicit drug use during pregnancy, both of which have been linked to preterm birth. Dunkel-Schetter's next challenge: Discovering what protective factors buffer expectant moms from stress effects. Visit the APA article.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB's disclaimer is available on our website.