Thursday, November 16, 2017 7:04 PM

World Prematurity Day: A Look at Community’s Impact on Premature Births

If it seems a little purple around the Community Medical Centers facilities on November 17, it’s because many of our employees are wearing purple for World Prematurity Day.

March of Dimes recognizes World Prematurity Day to raise awareness of this serious health crisis and highlight the lifesaving research and treatments that are available for families.  
 

The Preterm Epidemic in Fresno County

Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under 5 – and Fresno County has the highest preterm birth rate in California at 9.5% – so you can see why today is especially important to us.
 
According to the March of Dimes, in an average week in Fresno County about 295 babies are born. Among them:
  • 30 are born preterm
  • 24 are born low birth weight
  • And 3 will die before reaching their first birthday

Community Regional Medical Center delivers the most babies in California weighing under 3 lbs. 5 oz. As the high-risk pregnancy and delivery center for a five-county area, about 15% of the babies born at Community Regional are cared for in our Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
 
Clovis Community Medical Center's Level 2 NICU is an 8-bed unit that cares for infants born around 32 weeks of gestational age or greater, providing a higher level of care without having to transfer them to another facility so that moms and babies can stay together.
 

Are you at Risk for Preterm Labor?

There isn’t always a clear cause for preterm labor, but there are some risk factors that can make you more likely to have a premature birth. Having one of these doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely give birth early, but you should talk to your healthcare provider about how you can lower your risk.
 
The top risk factors that make you most likely to have a preterm birth are:
  • Having a previous premature baby
  • Being pregnant with multiples
  • Having previous or current problems with your uterus or cervix
  • Having Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes
 
Read about the other medical risk factors that increase your chances of preterm labor and how you can reduce your risk.
 

Stories from Our NICU
 

Sometimes, it’s our tiniest patients that can make the biggest impact. Premature labor can be scary, but there are so many heartwarming stories that come out of our NICUs every day. Read about some of our biggest NICU wins and celebrations from the last year.
 

Respiratory Therapy Helped Baby Maria Breath Better for Life

Maria Perez was born 17 weeks too early and weighed only 1.18 lbs. Community Regional’s NICU kept Maria off a ventilator with an innovative respiratory treatment to help her undeveloped lungs function better for life. It’s one of the practices that give our NICU babies the best breathing outcomes in the state. Read more about the therapy that helped Baby Maria and hundreds of babies just like her.
 

Good Things Come in Threes: The Blankenship Triplets

The Blankenship Family wasn’t expecting triplets, but now can’t imagine life without them. On average, 90% of triplets are born preterm which increases the babies risk for complications. Learn more about the Blankenship’s story and how our NICU helped them through the first few weeks of their life.
 
Looking for more triplets’ news? In 2015, Community Regional made news headlines around the world for delivering 5 sets of triplets in six weeks.
 

Taking Time to Celebrate our NICU Graduates

Each year, our Clovis Community and Community Regional NICU departments celebrate with hundreds of NICU alumni and their families. Each and every life is one to celebrate and our team is happy to reconnect with the lives that we have helped save.

Take a look at some of the fun we had at our 2017 Community Regional NICU Reunion.

Thank you to the staff and physicians who work tirelessly to save these little lives. And thank you to the families who so generously allowed us to share their stories. It's those stories that inspire us every single day.