One Of Every Six African-American Babies Born Prematurely

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One of every six African-American babies born in the U.S. is premature, a much higher rate than every other race and ethnic group in the country—making it a crucial problem that requires a concerted effort by healthcare professionals, the black community and black mothers to correct.

In a piece on the Huffington Post, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Lisa Gittens-Williams, delivers an impassioned plea to get all concerned parties to come together and begin addressing this problem. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death—and those babies who do survive are more likely to have life-long health consequences such as cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, breathing problems and other conditions.

In Newark, where Dr. Gittens-Williams practices, the incidence of premature birth for black women is one of every five.

In her piece, the doctor encourages expecting moms to be more vigilant about prenatal care with tips such as these: see a doctor before getting pregnant to make sure you have no health problems; seek early prenatal care with a healthcare provider as soon as you discover the pregnancy; manage your existing medical problems, such as diabetes and hypertension; make sure you aren’t taking medications that will affect the fetus; avoid stress, tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, take a multivitamin with folic acid to reduce the chance of birth defects, and eat properly to get to a healthy weight.

 

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