When I was seven months pregnant, my blood pressure spiked. Even worse, there was protein in my urine. The doctors started talking about preeclampsia.
At the sound of that word, my blood ran cold. Preeclampsia, for those of you who don’t know, is a hypertensive disorder (meaning it stems from high blood pressure) that in its most severe forms can cause death. That’s right. When left untreated, it can kill both you and your unborn child.
When caught early (as it was in my case), it’s usually controllable with medication and bed rest. But sometimes it can lead to serious complications—and force the early delivery of your baby.
I was lucky.
After a week of almost total bed rest, the protein disappeared and my blood pressure sank to more manageable levels. I still had to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy, but Tori was able to continue baking until my due date.
But a lot of women (and babies) don’t get that break. A lot of moms give birth to their babies prematurely.
In fact, 543,000 babies are born too soon in the U.S. every year. That’s one in every eight babies. One in eight. That’s a whole lot of babies, people.
Being born prematurely puts them at risk for a host of health problems, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, hearing loss and blindness. Even worse, they could die. In fact, premature birth is the leading cause of death among newborns.
There’s one organization that’s working to reduce the number of preemies being born in this country—The March of Dimes.
They research the causes of premature birth, educate at risk women and their families, and support families affected by premature birth. In short, they do everything they can to help more babies make it to their due date.
So what can you do to help?
Support them during Prematurity Awareness Month (and every day). Get active. Make a donation. Volunteer. Heck, even blogging about it helps. Just do something.
Because every baby born too soon is one too many.