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Congress considers program to address premature birthrates

During every birth, it is critically important that the doctors and medical staff are well trained and deliver the best possible standard of care. This will help ensure the likelihood of a healthy outcome for both the mother and the newborn infant. The training and procedures used by doctors during a premature birth are even more crucial.

Infants that are born pre-term have an increased risk of a number of serious medical complications including cerebral palsy, infections and pneumonia. Last week a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to reauthorize support for increased research and education to mitigate the health risks of premature birth.

The Senate proposal already has a companion bill in the House known as the, Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now, or NEWBORN Act. This Act would set up pilot programs in areas with the highest infant mortality rates.

While birth injuries and fatalities are nationwide problems, there are some pockets where these issues are especially prevalent. Hopefully, by identifying the factors that lead to negative medical outcomes in these hardest hit areas, doctors and hospitals can learn to correct errors and avoid negligent mistakes that cause injuries to premature babies across the country.

A premature delivery does not necessarily entail long-term negative health consequences for the infant. When doctors are vigilant and take the appropriate steps, pre-term births often result in healthy babies and mothers. It is encouraging that our elected leaders are making a priority of the risks of premature delivery.

Source: The Commercial Appeal "Bill targets premature birth" Bartholomew Sullivan, July 29, 2011

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