Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in Johnson is working with the March of Dimes to increase awareness of premature births in November, according to a news release.
Staff of the Northwest Health hospital are participating in a spirit week focused on reducing premature births. The hospital has been partnering with the March of Dimes for the past three years, said Patricia Driscoll, vice president of marketing for Northwest Health.
“In Arkansas, one in nine babies is born prematurely,” Dr. Sameer Wagle, board-certified neonatologist at Willow Creek, said in the release. “Premature babies often have health problems related to prematurity that requires longer hospital stays, costly tests and interventions, suboptimal bonding experience and emotional stress, and some of them suffer long-term complications, such as chronic lung disease, developmental delay, learning problems and hearing and vision deficits.”
Wagle also expressed the importance of learning from years of research supported by the March of Dimes to prevent premature birth.
The 64-bed women’s hospital offers a level III neonatal ICU, and can care for premature babies up to 23 weeks gestation.
A premature baby is one born before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes.
Annually, 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States, and 15 million babies are born prematurely in the world, according to the nonprofit organization. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children ages 5 and younger.
As part of the organization’s Prematurity Awareness Month in November, Union Plaza Building in downtown Little Rock and five Arkansas River bridges, will be lit up with purple lights.