I’ll never forget one of the first mothers I treated for postpartum depression. Her baby was in the NICU and she had a two year old son at home. Going back and forth to the hospital, pumping her breast milk to give her baby the best start she could, feeling torn between caring for each of her children while completely depleted herself, she sank into a serious depression. I believe the severity of her illness was linked to the stress of the premature birth, both the physical demands and the emotional demands of fear for their baby’s very survival.
Much attention is currently being focused upon the importance of carrying babies the full 40 weeks. Both the March of Dimes and The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) have launched campaigns designed to increase awareness of the benefits of full term infants in contrast to the costs of prematurity.
The March of Dimes has great information on its website (http://marchofdimes.com/mission/prematurity_wpd.html) and the AWHONN’s campaign has 40 fun and serious reasons to give a baby 40 weeks to mature. “Go the Full 40” (http://www.health4mom.org/a/40_reasons_121611) has a downloadable PDF file and points out the increased risks of caesarean surgeries, prematurity, infections and hemorrhage associated with inducing labor.
When babies are born full term, they are healthier and therefore everyone thrives-Baby, Mom, Dad, and siblings! Please help spread the word about how we can do what we can to prevent preterm deliveries.