TRENTON – Senator Fred H. Madden today joined with Tracey A. Reed of the NJ chapter of March of Dimes and Dr. Jay Greenspan of the Virtua Medical Center in Voorhees and the Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia to discuss the month of May 2006 being designated as “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Month,” and the importance of prenatal care for the health of expectant mothers and their babies.
“Prematurity is the leading cause of infant mortality,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, who sits on the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Countless illnesses affect pre-term babies through their early years, and may continue to contribute to health problems throughout their lives. Over the past few years, pre-term births have been on the rise, and I believe that with a strong commitment by the State to help promote awareness and education, we can help mothers have safe pregnancies, all the while, increasing their chances of delivering healthy babies.”
“Every year in New Jersey nearly 14,000 babies are born prematurely,” said Tracey A. Reed. “That is why the March of Dimes is so grateful that the New Jersey Senate, under Senator Madden’s sponsorship, has designated May of 2006 as ‘Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Month,’ to send the alert that premature birth is a crisis in our country and to bring people together to help give all babies their nine months.”
“Premature birth is a growing problem, yet many people aren’t aware of it,” said Dr. Jay Greenspan, MD. “Nearly half a million babies are born prematurely each year, and the number is rising. Premature birth is the number one killer of newborns and a major cause of serious health problems. It costs society billions of dollars every year, and we aren’t even sure of the causes of 50 % of these premature births. Through its Prematurity Campaign, the March of Dimes is working to address this issue by funding research, education advocacy and other community services such as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (NICU) Family Support Project.These programs will help find the causes of premature labor and will also provide support to families affected by premature birth.”
Senator Madden’s resolution is intended to increase awareness of many of the health problems caused by premature birth, including stress, malnutrition, a weakened cervix.
Any birth occurring before the 37th week of a pregnancy is defined as premature. According to the March of Dimes, every 1 in 8 children is born prematurely each year. Premature birth can cause birth defects, which can also leave children unable to fight off diseases, and cause them other lifelong health problems.