The Woman’s Hospital of Texas Recognizes World Prematurity Day Partnering with The March of Dimes to Promote Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait Campaign

November 19, 2012

The Woman’s Hospital of Texas Recognizes World Prematurity Day Partnering with The March of Dimes to Promote Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait Campaign

Hospital Unveils ‘Wall of Hope,’ Newborns "Go Purple"

The Woman’s Hospital of Texas (TWHT) is partnering with the March of Dimes to promote research, awareness and prevention during November’s Prematurity Awareness Month. Pre- term birth is the leading cause of newborn death nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.  Late pre-term infants are babies born at 34 to 36 weeks, which is when important organs such as the brain, lungs and liver are still growing. According to the March of Dimes, many of these early births can be prevented by avoiding medically unnecessary early elective deliveries and Texas is making progress.

Part of that progress is due, in part, to hospitals like TWHT implementing programs such as the March of Dimes Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW). HBWW reduces c-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy through community education, early prenatal care and hospital quality improvement programs.

“We are so pleased that Texas has shown continued progress in improving its premature birth rate,” said Linda Russell, CEO of The Woman’s Hospital of Texas. “The March of Dimes’ Premature Birth Report Card shows that we continue to lower the number of babies who are born too early, but we still have work to do and that includes avoiding early elective deliveries through programs like Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.

According to the March of Dimes, Texas earned a “C” on this year’s report card, a noted improvement from last year’s “D” score and a failing grade in 2010. The premature birth rate dropped nearly 7 percent between 2006 and 2011. Preterm birth report card grades compare states’ rate of preterm birth to the March of Dimes goal of 9.6 percent.  Texas’s current rate is 12.8 percent, a decrease from 13.1 percent in 2011.

The March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card was released Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Locally, the report card’s improved score is a note of encouragement to maternal-fetal medicine specialist Joanie Hare, a physician affiliated with the Woman’s Hospital of Texas and the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW) advisory chair.

“I am proud of the changes HBWW have made in decreasing prematurity in our state in just the last two years,” Hare said.  “HBWW, along with the state of Texas and The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, have stood firm at no elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks.  We want to deliver, if possible, naturally after 39 weeks.”

 While there has been improvement, Hare continued, there remains work to do. 

“At HBWW, we recognize that too many women in Houston do not start prenatal care until after the first trimester,” she said. “One of our newer initiatives is a campaign urging women to get prenatal care and education early, which could help eliminate the need for a premature birth. Such programs undoubtedly pave the way for healthier babies not only in our state, but nationwide.”

In addition to HBWW, The Woman’s Hospital of Texas and the March of Dimes Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Family Support Action Committee have one of the most comprehensive partnerships in the state.  The committee is comprised of former NICU families and hospital staff.

At 3 p.m. Nov. 13 in honor of World Prematurity Day, the hospital unveiled its Wall of Hope, an art exhibit chronicling the unique journey of NICU families at the Woman’s Hospital. The unveiling was on the NICU Level III, a nursery for infants born with the most severe health issues.  In addition, every newborn wore custom-made purple onesies, the official color for March of Dimes.

November is World Prematurity Month.  World Prematurity Day is Nov. 17.

About the Woman’s Hospital of Texas

The Woman’s Hospital of Texas is an acute care hospital located near the Texas Medical Center. The hospital was established in 1976 by a group of physicians who recognized the need for a facility focused solely on the care of women and infants. In keeping with this vision, Woman’s offers a full range of women’s services, including breakthrough developments in minimally invasive surgery such as Robotic Surgery, and urogynecology The hospital has an antepartum unit, 36 labor and delivery rooms, a medical surgical unit and 124-bed Levels II and III Neonatal Intensive Care nurseries. Since its inception, Woman’s has welcomed over 200,000 babies into the world and delivers more babies in Houston than any other hospital. Our experienced physicians specialize in high-risk deliveries, from handling preemies weighing less than 1,500 grams to offering a comprehensive Multiples Clinic for women having twins, triplets, or more.  In addition, the Woman’s Hospital of Texas was twice named a top performer in quality measures by the Joint Commission, and has been designated as a Center of Excellence for Continence Care in Women by the National Association for Continence.

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