November 2013: Prematurity Awareness Month

WHEREAS, one of the leading causes of death in the first month of life is prematurity or preterm birth, defined as babies born at less than 39 weeks gestation; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan ranks 31st overall for preterm births, and 36th for African American preterm births; and

WHEREAS, the Michigan infant mortality rate is 17 times higher among premature infants than those who are full term; and,

WHEREAS, babies are not fully developed until after 39 weeks, and babies born too soon can have lifelong health issues and learning challenges; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Community Health encourages prematurity prevention strategies such as elimination of non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks gestational age; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Community Health encourages women to seek prenatal care in the first trimester to benefit from new strategies to prevent preterm birth as well as identification of high risk mothers so that they deliver their baby at a facility for high risk patients; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Community Health is working closely with the March of Dimes Michigan Chapter and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association to raise public awareness of the problems of prematurity and to decrease the rate of preterm birth and infant mortality in Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, the month of November is recognized annually as World Prematurity Awareness Month to bring about recognition of this global health crisis to increase people’s awareness of the high rates of preterm births and to support healthy pregnancies and prevent birth defects and infant deaths; and,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as Prematurity Awareness Month in Michigan and extend special recognition to the March of Dimes Michigan Chapter on its observance of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the March of Dimes.