Woodbridge, Virginia – December 3, 2013 – On Monday, December 2, 2013, the local March of Dimes held a Day of Gratitude event at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It was an opportunity for the March of Dimes staff to express thanks to the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals for all that they do each day as they care for these tiny babies and their families.
Hospital staff was presented with a plaque to commemorate their efforts to support the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies. “We truly appreciate our relationship with the March of Dimes, and we hope to make this year a success by helping to improve the health of our babies―the future of our community,” noted Robin Adams, Director of Market Development.
Although the nation’s preterm birth rate has dropped for the sixth consecutive year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely each year in the U.S. These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complications and life-long disabilities. Some may not reach their first birthday. In addition to the physical and emotional effects, a preterm birth can cost 12 times more than an uncomplicated birth and costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion each year.
The March of Dimes helps moms have full-term pregnancies and researches the problems that threaten the health of babies. Since the organization was established in 1938, March of Dimes work has led to discoveries that shape today’s standards of a healthy pregnancy.
March of Dimes research helped link alcohol consumption in pregnancy to birth defects, and their outreach programs are making women aware of the importance of consuming folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects. Advocates have helped pass new laws to expand state newborn screening programs that diagnose life-threatening newborn conditions in time for effective treatment.