Local March of Dimes Gives Care Package to First Baby of 2013
In anticipation of the first baby born in Bartow County in 2013, the local March of Dimes has already delivered a care package to Cartersville Medical Center to be given to the infant’s mother and father. The first baby born in Bartow County this year has a better chance for a long and healthy life than earlier generations, thanks to 75 years of health advances, made possible in part by the March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes is providing newborn gift bags to the first baby born at hospitals across the state of Georgia. The newborn gift bags include products from the March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson, Medela, HALO, Kids R Kids and Carter’s. Cartersville Medical Center is excited to be a part of this endeavor to celebrate both the health advances of the March of Dimes and their 75th Anniversary.
“We are excited to celebrate the first baby of the New Year this way,” Michele Beal, community director for the March of Dimes, said in a release.
Today, about 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes helps each and every one of them through its history of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Babies born in 2013 can expect to live about 78 years, 14 years longer than an infant born in 1938, when the life expectancy was only 64.
Babies born next year also will be screened for 31 genetic, metabolic, hormonal and/or functional conditions, including PKU (phenylketonuria) within the first hours of birth. March of Dimes grantee Dr. Robert Guthrie developed the mass PKU test, the first of many newborn screening tests infants now receive, and allowed for prevention of intellectual disabilities through diet. Today, every baby born in every state in the U.S. receives screening for dozens of conditions that could cause catastrophic health problems or death if not detected and then treated promptly at birth.
Many serious birth defects have declined over these 75 years. For example, neural tube defects or NTDs (birth defects of the brain and spine) have decreased by nearly one-third since 1998, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated that grain foods such as bread and pasta be fortified with folic acid.
Today, the March of Dimes is working to prevent the epidemic of premature birth, which affects nearly a half million babies every year. Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait.” The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.