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Lourdes Recognizes World Prematurity Awareness Day

Hospital educates patients and staff on premature birth

One in eight babies in the United States and 13 million worldwide are born prematurely each year. Some born smaller than a soda can, they spend weeks to months under the care of specialized physicians and nurses.

On Thursday, November 17, medical staff in the Mother-Baby Unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, a Level III Regional Perinatal Center and home to one of the leading neonatal intensive care units in the state, will mark World Prematurity Awareness Day in an effort to raise greater awareness of this serious problem and help more babies lead healthy lives.

Pre-term birth, or birth before 37 weeks completed gestation, is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive can face a lifetime of health challenges, including breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning delays.  

Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. At least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby’s health because many important organs, including the brain and lungs, are not completely developed until then.  

Lourdes is a member of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative and is dedicated to improving the health of pregnant women, babies and children through education, planning and clinical care coordination. The cooperative is closely aligned with the March of Dimes in helping to combat early elective deliveries by educating the public on the dangers to the baby when it is taken from the mother’s womb too soon.

“Lourdes is dedicated to full-term delivery and works closely with mothers to educate them on the importance of waiting the full 39 weeks to deliver. Since we began this initiative, Lourdes has reduced its number of early elective deliveries from 6 percent to 0.4 percent,” said Daniel Berger, DO, an OB/GYN at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.

The  March of Dimes  has a 2020 preterm birth goal of 9.6 percent nation-wide and believes this can be achieved by a combination of activities including giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage, fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, getting preconception and early prenatal care, progesterone treatments for women who are medically eligible, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding medically unnecessary c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy and by funding new research on prevention of preterm birth.  

About Lourdes Neonatal Care

Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center is a state-designated Level III Regional Perinatal Center, fully equipped to handle all aspects of high-risk pregnancies. Established more than 30 years ago, the 25-bed Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) cares for 400+ babies annually. Sixty percent of the admissions are transfers from other southern New Jersey hospitals, demonstrating the trust obstetricians/ gynecologists, pediatricians and parents

place in Lourdes.

The ICN is equipped to care for babies that are born at less than 32 weeks gestation and who weigh less than 1,500 grams. Twelve neonatologists, eight pediatricians, two pediatric nurse practitioners and about 60 advanced-care nurses comprise the team that cares for these fragile children. Through special relationships with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Wills Eye Hospital, pediatric surgeons, cardiologists, neurologists and ophthalmologists come to Lourdes to treat neonates on site.

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For more information, please contact Lauren Ward via email at  WardL@lourdesnet.org  or via phone at (856) 705-1375.

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