For Immediate Release
November 2, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Governor Signs Proclamation Declaring November as Prematurity Awareness Month

Topeka – Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring November as Prematurity Awareness Month in the State of Kansas. Along with the Governor, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) wants to see that women have healthy pregnancies, get early prenatal care and support services, learn about safe sleep and make choices that promote healthy lifestyles for a lifetime.

Prematurity has steadily risen over the past two decades. One out of eight babies is born prematurely in the United States. Preterm birth is defined as a live birth before 37 completed weeks gestation. Babies born too soon are often born too small. Compared to other babies, preterm babies are more likely to face lifelong health problems or even to die in the first month of life, especially if they are born very preterm (less than 32 weeks gestation).

According to the March of Dimes 2010 National Premature Birth Report Card (comparing each state’s rate of premature birth to the nation’s objective of 7.6 percent or less by 2010), Kansas received a “C” for its preterm birth rate of 11.2 percent. 
In 2009 in Kansas:

Every pregnant woman should be considered at risk of preterm birth. Around the 20th week of pregnancy, all pregnant women should learn the signs and symptoms of preterm labor and what they can do if they occur. 

To help prevent preterm birth, women should:

Over the next several weeks, KDHE will join March of Dimes Greater Kansas Chapter and members of the Kansas Blue Ribbon Panel on Infant Mortality, in efforts to increase public awareness and education about prematurity, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), safe sleep, and other issues related to the high infant mortality rate in Kansas.

“I ask you to join us in the effort to promote awareness about prematurity and its outcomes as well as support early and regular prenatal care to reduce risks for preterm delivery,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.

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Governor Brownback signed the proclamation declaring  November as Prematurity Awareness Month in Kansas

Caption for Attached Photo – Staff from March of Dimes, Baker University, KDHE and parents of premature infants were on hand Friday Oct. 28 while Governor Brownback signed the proclamation declaring November as Prematurity Awareness Month in Kansas.