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Prematurity Campaign

  • In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely.
  • Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year.
  • We’re working to address the crisis at home and abroad.
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Progress and impact

Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns. Those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.

Preterm birth can happen to any pregnant woman. In about 4 out of every 10 cases, the causes are unknown.

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign was launched on January 30, 2003. Since then, the Campaign has made significant strides in achieving its two goals: (1) to raise public awareness of the problems of prematurity and (2) to decrease the rate of preterm birth in the United States. Annual reports reflect this progress:

  • 2013 (.PDF, 1,105KB)
  • 2012 (.PDF, 3.0MB)
  • 2011 (.PDF, 1.0MB)
  • 2010 (.PDF, 1.4MB)
  • 2009 (.PDF, 959KB)
  • 2008 (.PDF, 1.2MB)

See also: The serious problem of premature birth

Last reviewed March 2014

Worldwide health problem

15 million babies are born too soon every year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Campaign work to achieve its goals?

The campaign funds research to find the causes of premature birth, and to identify and test promising interventions; educates health care providers and women about risk-reduction strategies; advocates to expand access to health care coverage to improve maternity care and infant health outcomes; provides information and emotional support to families affected by prematurity; and generates concern and action around the problem.

What are the goals of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign?

The goals of the Prematurity Campaign are to reduce the rate of premature birth, and to raise public awareness about the seriousness of the problem.

Why is the problem of prematurity so important?

Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns. Those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.

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