Reviews | Why are there so many premature births in America?
I was moved this week by Maria Cramer’s story of a baby born at 21 weeks who defied the odds and now holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Premature Baby to Live to First Birthday” . Curtis Zy-Keith Means was born to Michelle Butler last summer, and while his twin sister sadly did not survive, Curtis held on.
“The truth is no babies have survived this age,” a neonatologist from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who helped care for Curtis told Cramer. “We say less than 1%, but it’s really closer to zero.”
Premature birth rates in the United States are much higher than in other wealthy countries. A systematic review of preterm births around the world published in 2019 showed that the United States was in the top ten for preterm births in 2014, ranking seventh, between Pakistan and Ethiopia. Another study found that in part, the “stresses of racism and income disparities” can exacerbate poor outcomes for American mothers and babies.
As Sema Sgaier and Jordan Downey point out in a new Times Opinion article on “shameful trends” in maternal health in the United States, mothers who, like Butler, give birth in Alabama, are particularly at risk of preterm birth, as well as other major issues. . âOne in five women of childbearing age in the southern states,â they write, âlive in counties at high risk of death and other maternal health problems, such as postpartum hemorrhage, pregnancy. -eclampsia and premature childbirth â.
This level of unnecessary suffering is enough to make you scream and hit a wall. Why are we like this? For a cathartic, sad laugh, please read comedian Bess Kalb about how she might have died six weeks after the birth of her first child if she hadn’t had parental leave. I swear it’s very funny although it is also very infuriating.
Kalb is currently pregnant with her second child and has had complications that could lead her to bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy, “which, as someone who has always dreamed of the lifestyle of a tragic heroine from the Victorian era, is great news, âshe writes. Although she notes that if she hadn’t had paid time off through her union, she would also feel the stress of wondering how to afford to keep herself and her baby alive.
Let’s end with two good news. First, as Sheryl Gay Stolberg reported on Wednesday, the White House estimated that almost 10% of children aged 5 to 11 had already received their first dose of the vaccine: âJust 10 days after the start of our program. , we are 10% children, âsaid Jeff Zients, President Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator. âFor the prospect,â Zients added, âit took us about 50 days to reach 10% of adults with a single injection. And when the polio vaccine was first launched in children in the 1950s, it took about three months to get through two and a half million shots. (And my Opinion colleagues asked three experts how you can stay safe from Covid during the winter break.)
And secondly, I’m over the moon about an event I’m hosting with Michelle Buteau, one of the funniest people in the world – whom you might know from her specials or movies like ” Always Be My Maybe “. Our conversation will take place on December 8th at 8:30 am EST, so I hope you can put your kids to bed and join us. You can share your Tiny Victories and we’ll answer your questions.
Also, don’t miss the incredible essay Buteau wrote for The Times, which included this perfect description of his parental relationship: âTo my husband, I’m not just a helicopter mom. I’m a drone mom on top of a snow plow. For me, my husband is too laid back and relaxed. Toddler Hour is not a Jimmy Buffett concert! “
Parenting can be a chore. Let’s celebrate the small victories.
Putting on pajamas is a real battle with my 2 year old so I invented a game where the pajama shirt and pants are sad and scream “boo-hoo-hoo” because they have “no arms. no legs to cuddle â. Every time I do it, my daughter smiles and putting on pajamas becomes a pleasure for her; what a relief!
– Emily McCausland, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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