While infection, high blood pressure, and health risks threaten the lives of premature babies, the March of Dimes program is working diligently to decrease prematurity and end neonatal death.
Through the research and support provided from the March of Dimes program, doTERRA Wellness Advocate Kerry Stoppiello’s premature baby lived. Now, Kerry fundraises for the March of Dimes March for Babies program so that premature births can be avoided in the future. The March of Dimes program places all of its focus on preventing premature births and birth defects while increasing the health of babies around the world.
After the March of Dimes’ research and doctors helped find a cure for polio, the program decided to take on another problem that has proven deadly—prematurity. Over 15 million births worldwide are premature and for 1.1 million of those babies, a premature birth is their death. In response to this saddening fatality rate, the March of Dimes began a prematurity campaign in 2003 to put an end to premature birth and its negative effects.
Although the reasons behind prematurity are not completely understood, a premature birth has been correlated with a variety of health issues and risks. For example, a health issue that may lead to neonatal death may include infection. When a baby is born prematurely, their weak immune system can develop infections “such as pneumonia (lung infection), sepsis (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord).”1 Other health risks that can influence infant mortality rates include health complications with mothers, like high blood pressure and placental difficulties.2
In an effort to reduce these causes of premature death and any other unknown causes, March of Dimes created the March for Babies program to help raise money for research so that moms can have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. The March for Babies program allows for families, friends, and communities to join together and march to fundraise for a cure. As for Kerry, she organized the top fundraising family team in her county, and for years, she has raised around $2,500 to donate to the March for Babies fund. Additionally, her son has been a March for Babies ambassador for four years. For over 75 years, volunteers like Kerry and her son have helped push the work of March of Dimes forward, and as a result, they are helping decrease prematurity rates and increase healthy pregnancies and babies.