The month of November is Prematurity Awareness Month sponsored by the March of Dimes.

What is Prematurity Awareness Month?

This campaign is dedicated to raising awareness about the serious problem of premature birth. In the past 25 years, the United States’ premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent, and more than half a million babies are born too soon every year. The rate is much higher in other countries around the world.

Why is premature birth such a problem?

In short, prematurity is the leading cause of death among American newborns. Being born too soon is a serious problem because, often, premature babies are not able to survive independently as a result of underdevelopment. If the baby does survive, his or her chance of developing lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, mental challenges, chronic lung disease, blindness, and hearing loss is much greater.

What is the length of a healthy pregnancy?

A full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but a baby can usually be born healthy at 36 weeks. The March of Dimes strives to educate women on the importance of waiting until at least 39 weeks to give birth whenever possible. After all, a healthy baby is worth the wait.

 As an expectant mom, what can you do to ensure a healthy pregnancy?

In addition to eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of rest, there are a million things you can do to ensure the health of your unborn child. Avoid certain foods to lower chances of allergies, avoid alcohol, raw fish, caffeine, and tobacco products, don’t travel by air after the 7 month mark, and the list goes on and on. Have you ever thought that your dental health could contribute to a healthy pregnancy?

It’s true. Your dental health is important to your overall health all of the time, but it may be even more important for you to have regular dental checkups and cleanings during a pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, any health problems can be transmitted to the baby. Even if they baby does not become ill directly, side effects can impact the unborn child. Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common dental health problems, and one of the risks, along with diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease, is premature birth. The best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems is to have regular, bi-annual dental exams and cleanings. This gives your dentist the best chance of identifying potential problems early, which allows for conservative and effective treatment.

If you’re due for an appointment, call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve an appointment with Brighton dentists Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat. When you call to schedule your appointment, please let us know that you’re expecting so that we can take extra precautions to keep you safe and comfortable throughout your appointment. While you’re here, ask us about caring for your little one’s smile. We look forward to seeing you and, someday, your little one in our dental chair!