Promoting healthy pregnancies

Published 7:47 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

Each year, more than half a million American babies are born too early.

The March of Dimes works to support research and community projects to help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies.

Babies born by inducing a C-section before 39 weeks face significantly more potential problems and risks than those that are born in the 39th and 40th weeks of pregnancy, doctors have discovered.

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According to the March of Dimes, a baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39 or 40 weeks. And waiting until at least the 39th week of pregnancy to deliver also gives more time for other organs, like the lungs and liver, to develop. Babies born before 39 weeks of gestation are more likely to have vision and hearing problems after birth, and they have a harder time regulating their temperature.

A big part of the March of Dimes’ effort goes toward educating expectant mothers about the need to carry their babies to full term, even when tempted to induce labor or ask for an early C-section. And the annual March for Babies — in addition to being a great fundraising event for the organization’s efforts — is a good way for its supporters to help get out the word about full-term pregnancies.

This year’s march in Suffolk is set for April 25, beginning and ending at the Constance Wharf Marina, and registration already has begun. Organizers say there are already more than 50 registrants for the event, and more are expected to join during a kick-off breakfast Friday at 8 a.m. at the QVC Distribution Center, off Progress Road in the Wilroy Industrial Park.

Two ambassador families — one with a child born at 25 weeks and another with one child born at 30 weeks and another at 35 weeks — will tell their stories, and organizers will describe the March of Dimes’ mission and the purpose of the annual fundraiser.

The kick-off event is open to the public without pre-registration. For more information about the Suffolk walk, though, folks can visit and follow the links.