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A premature baby is one who is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Low birth weight (< 2.5 kg) and is an indication of health and development of infants in their lifetime. The rate of low birth weight is on the rise and is challenging to public health. Preventing low birth weight needs to be prioritized in the National Health Strategy. Prematurity effects close to 4000,000 babies that are born in the United States. Low birth weight babies can often face complexed setbacks and are faced with substantially increased risk concerns. (Islam, M. 2020).

The effects on a family and a community related to low birth weights consists of financial burdens, loss wages, feelings of detachment to the infant and anxiety. There are many health concerns associated with premature babies both short and long term. The short-term effects include breathing problems (respiratory distress syndrome), cardiac problems (patent ductus arteriosus), brain disorders (bleeds), temperature control (hypothermia), gastrointestinal disorders (necrotizing enterocolitis), metabolic disorders(hypoglycemia), blood disorders (anemia and jaundice), and immune system problems (infection/ sepsis). All these setbacks require extended hospital stays. (Mahurin, J. 2021). Long term health issues include attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD), poor academic performance, delayed development, impaired learning, vision issues, and are a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Both in early childhood and in the pre-adolescence stages these babies score lower on standardizes test. (Mahurin, J. 2021).

Ongoing care for preterm babies also poses financial burdens on both the family and society, these infants will require much long-term care depending on the degree of the deficit and the equipment needed to care for them. In the United States the rate of preterm births differs among racial/ethnic groups, the largest and most disparities occur between non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic whites and is associated with gaps in chronic health issues throughout life. The level of education along with occupation reflect genetics, environment, and other social factors. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,2019, October 21).

In my community The March of Dimes has helped millions of infants to survive and thrive. The March of Dimes has partnered with other organizations on the local and state levels and provides services to women and their families the goal of The March of Dimes is to promote the health of mothers and babies through education on the importance of early prenatal care, reducing premature births and other poor outcomes. They also provide support for babies in the NICU. Local chapters of The March of Dimes offer programs geared towards specific populations to address disparities and improve the equity in their communities. (March of Dimes, 2019, October).

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