Preemie Matters – December 2009

In this issue of Preemie Matters: What Does "Full Term" Mean to Expectant Moms?  •  Tackling Preterm Birth Rates in the "Big 5"  •  HMBANA: Life-Saving Milk Banking for Preemies  •  Preterm Birth on Wickipedia  •  The "Mozart Effect" on Preemie Infant Growth

What Does "Full Term" Mean to Expectant Moms?

A study published in the December issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology looks at the varying beliefs of pregnant women in the U.S. about the safety of birth at various stages of gestation. Of the 650 pregnant women who completed the researchers' survey, 24.1 percent chose 34-36 weeks' gestation as "full term," while 50.8 percent chose 37-38 weeks, and 25.2 percent chose 39-40 weeks. When asked to name "the earliest point in the pregnancy that it is safe to deliver the baby, should there be no other medical complications requiring early delivery," more than half of the women selected 34-36 weeks of gestation as their response. Fewer than 25 percent of the women selected either 37 or 38 weeks. Why does it matter? The authors suggest that as women have an increased role in medical decision-making about delivery, ensuring that they understand the implications of the timing of delivery may be important to reducing the number of elective or semi-elective late preterm and early term births. Click here for the abstract.

Tackling Preterm Birth Rates in the "Big 5"

Together, five states account for 36.8 percent of preterm births in the United States. California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas, known as the "Big 5," share high overall birth rates and many of the same challenges in improving birth outcomes. In recognition of the "Big 5's" significance to its mission, March of Dimes brought together state and maternal child health leadership, hospital systems and prematurity experts for a summit in 2007 that set the groundwork for reducing preemie births in the "Big 5." By tackling together the need to improve program evaluation to understand which programs had an impact on birth outcomes, these partners formed a valuable alliance. Today, it's more formally organized as the March of Dimes Big 5 State Prematurity Collaborative, and its members are still successfully partnering to improve evidence-based interventions, systems and tools. Visit the March of Dimes prematurity microsite by clicking here.

HMBANA: Life-Saving Milk Banking for Preemies

Do you know about the life-saving work being done by the members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America? HMBANA is a multidisciplinary group of health care providers that promotes, protects and supports milk banking. It is THE professional membership organization for milk banks in the United States, Canada and Mexico, setting the standards and guidelines for donor milk banking that supplies preemies and other medically fragile newborns with pasteurized, screened, medically-prescribed donor breast milk. For many babies, this milk means the difference between life and death, because their tiny, underdeveloped bodies are not able to process formula and because their own mothers are unable to successfully pump breast milk or to breastfeed at all. Learn more about HMBANA, the 11 milks across the U.S., and the organization's April conference celebrating 100 years of milk banking.

Preterm Birth on Wikipedia's entry on prematurity/preterm birth is worth a visit for parents, advocates, and MCH colleagues alike. You may want to follow the contributors' lively discussions, watch the timeline of the page's development, or even contribute your own additions or edits to the page. Wikipedia is a free, accessible, multi-lingual, collaborative online encyclopedia that is now one of THE major public references for everything from medical conditions to rock bands to historical events. For more about how Wikipedia works and its global influence, click here. For the Wikipedia entry on prematurity/preterm birth, click here.

The "Mozart Effect" on Preemie Infant Growth

A study published online December 7 in the journal Pediatrics expands upon previous studies that have found that the rate of weight gain in preterm babies improves when the infants are exposed to music. Speculating that one mechanism for this improvement could be music's effect on the efficiency of metabolism, the current study exposed a small sampling of 20 gavage-fed preterm infants to the music of Mozart, measuring their REE (resting energy expenditure) and their weight gain. Their finding? Exposure to Mozart significantly lowers REE in healthy preterm infants and can contribute, at least in part, to improved weight gain that results from the "Mozart Effect." For the abstract, click here.


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.