In a rare move of bipartisanship, both political parties in the U.S. House and Senate came together to pass legislation aimed at improving the rate of preterm births in the United States. The legislation known as the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, passed in November 2013, a month that marks Prematurity Awareness Month on the federal health observances calendar.
Originally passed in 2006, the PREEMIE Act, brought the first-ever national focus to prematurity prevention. The law can be credited with establishing new research programs to address prematurity and its causes at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since 2006, according to the March of Dimes, approximately 176,000 fewer babies have been born too soon because of improvement in the preterm birth rate, resulting in healthier infants and potentially saving about $9 billion in health and societal costs.
The Preeclampsia Foundation through its advocacy work in Washington, DC, joined the March of Dimes and other leading health care provider and patient organizations in asking Congress to support the legislation.
Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of prematurity worldwide, accounting for approximately 15 percent of all premature births in the U.S. alone. The Foundation supports research and interventions that advance maternal and infant health.
"Preeclampsia is directly associated with prematurity, and it's important that Congress invest in research that can identify these problems early, improve health, and address associated economic costs on our families and the overall health system," said Julie Allen, Government Relations Manager for the Preeclampsia Foundation.
For information on your state's preterm birth rate, go the 2013 premature birth report cards.