CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The United States is one of the most dangerous developed nations for women to give birth.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month.
Earlier this week, the March of Dimes released its annual report card, which gave North Carolina a D+ for its preterm birth rate.
According to the report, more than 10 percent of babies in North Carolina were born early.
Danielle Rivera was 34 weeks pregnant with her second child, Dylan, when she realized something was wrong
Doctors told her she had to deliver immediately.
“It was unbelievable,” Rivera said. “Just heard a lot of words I never thought I would hear.”
Doctors later discovered Rivera had three blood clotting disorders that had robbed Dylan of oxygen.
“They did the MRI and said that brain damage was catastrophic,” she said. “He didn't have a good future.”
Dylan died when he was 6 months old.
“We had Dylan at home, and he died in my arms,” Rivera said.
Unfortunately, their loss isn't an isolated experience.
“In just one year, in the United States, over 22,000 babies die,” nurse practitioner Trudy Morgan said.
Morgan is the director of Newborn Services at Novant Health.
She said the nation is facing an urgent healthcare crisis for mothers and babies.
Channel 9 learned 1 out of 10 babies will be born prematurely.
“A premature baby can face so many complications through the course of their life as a result of being born premature,” Morgan said.
The March of Dimes is working with Novant Health to change that.
“We need to be able to find a way to prevent these preterm births,” she said.
Healthcare providers are trying to help women get healthy before they get pregnant and ensure all moms have access to the prenatal care they need.
“We know that the health of the mother is influenced by income, access to health care and insurability,” Morgan said. “The healthier the mother, the healthier the baby.”
Rivera went on to have three healthy pregnancies, but she wanted something positive to come from Dylan's short life.
She now serves as a March of Dimes ambassador, working to remind everyone the impact they can have.
The March of Dimes recommends Medicaid coverage extended for all women to at least one year postpartum, as well as reimbursement for prenatal care and maternal mortality review committees.
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