Preemie Matters - May 2010

In this issue of Preemie Matters: The Preeclampsia-Prematurity Connection  •  Anti-Tobacco Campaign's Contribution to Preventing Preterm Births  •  MOTHERS Act Becomes Law  •  Available Online: New RSV Video for Parents  •  VAMPSS to Evaluate Safety of Prenatal Exposures

The Preeclampsia-Prematurity Connection

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Did you know that this disorder is responsible for 15% of preterm births in the US each year, making it the leading known cause of prematurity? Preeclampsia occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and impacts both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5 to 8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly-progressing condition marked by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Other symptoms may include swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision, though not all women experience these. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Learn more about this condition and Preeclampsia Awareness Month activities at the Preeclampsia Foundation website.

Anti-Tobacco Campaign's Contribution to Preventing Preterm Births

In the US, May 31 is Memorial Day. But it's also World No Tobacco Day 2010, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). This year's observance focuses on women, who represent only 20% of the world's two billion smokers but are affected disproportionately by the health risks of tobacco use. That's because they bear the burden of reproductive problems linked to smoking, including preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and infertility. More info about tobacco risks and women - as well as materials for this year's women-focused observance - is available on WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative portal.

MOTHERS Act Becomes Law

Actress Brooke Shields and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) were among the participants at a recent press conference announcing the passage of legislation that will help to provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis. The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act will also help to educate mothers and their families about these conditions and supports research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis. The initiative was signed into law after being included in health insurance reform legislation. Research has found that the mothers of preterm infants are at increased risk for postpartum depression, making awareness of perinatal mental health paramount for families of preemies and the professionals who work with them.

Available Online: New RSV Video for Parents

Children's Hospital St. Louis is sharing a new, web-based, two-minute informational video about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with consumers. In addition to identifying the signs and symptoms of RSV, the video offers prevention tips and other useful information. Premature infants are at increased risk for developing severe and potentially life-threatening complications of RSV, a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. View the video and learn more about RSV on the hospital's "What is RSV" page.

VAMPSS to Evaluate Safety of Prenatal Exposures

The Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS) has been created to learn more about both the use and safety of influenza vaccines, antiviral medication and asthma medication during pregnancy. VAMPSS evaluates the risk or safety of pregnancy exposures as they may be related to preterm births, preeclampsia, fetal deaths, spontaneous abortions, intrauterine growth restrictions and congenital malformations. Pregnant women who have received the seasonal influenza vaccine, the H1N1 vaccine or who have taken antiviral medication (including Tamiflu or Relenza) to prevent or treat the flu or are taking medications for asthma are encouraged to learn more about the study by contacting the VAMPSS Coordinating Center at 877-311-8972. This nationwide system is coordinated by the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI) and includes an investigative task force and a standing independent advisory committee.


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.