Not all multiples are born prematurely, but the issue of premature birth is a cause near and dear to the hearts of most mothers of multiples. Even those MoMs who carried their multiples to term are aware that they’re in the minority. Most multiples are born prematurely, before their bodies are fully prepared for life outside the womb.
According to the latest birth statistics from 2011:
- In all American births, 11 percent — about 1 in 9 — were born preterm, before 37 weeks gestation.
- For multiples, that number is much greater. About 60 percent of twins, over 90 percent of triplets, and practically all higher order multiples are born prematurely.
- 11 percent of twins, more than ⅓ of all triplets, and more than ⅔ of all quadruplets and higher order multiples were delivered very preterm, before 32 weeks of gestation, compared with less than 2 percent of singletons.
According to Multiple Births Canada, among infants born prematurely, nearly 1 in 10 do not survive. Although the majority of premature babies do very well, they are at a somewhat higher risk of a variety of medical and other problems, some of which will be lifelong.
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes leads the campaign against premature birth, working to fund research and support legislation that improves healthcare for mothers and babies. They seek to focus attention on the issue of premature birth.
What We’re Doing
In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, we’re sharing our experiences of premature birth with you this week to raise awareness of this issue, and to help other families in similar situations. Most babies born prematurely spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and you will see that is a major part of many of our stories. We will cover a wide range of topics and perspectives, including:
- How to navigate the NICU environment
- The many emotions of prematurity
- Dealing with special needs
- Honoring our experiences through reunions, volunteering, and fundraising
- What expectant mothers should be aware of to try to prevent premature delivery
- How our premature children have been doing
All week, we’ll be sharing our birth stories as well. In each one, you’ll find unique circumstances and recurring themes, something that most mothers can relate to.
We thank you for joining us, and we invite you to “Wear Purple for Preemies” as we wrap up our series on Sunday, November 17, World Prematurity Day.