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Miami Valley Hospital Teams Up With March of Dimes for Prematurity Awareness Month

Berry Women’s Center to Glow Pink and Blue

DAYTON, Ohio, November 5, 2007 – Consider these statistics: one in eight babies in the United States is born before 36 weeks gestation. Premature birth is the number one cause of death in infants during their first year of life.

This is why the staff of Miami Valley Hospital’s Maternity Center is lighting up their building to help bring attention to this threat to infant health. Starting November 12 and continuing through the month, the Berry Women’s Heath Center will glow pink and blue in honor of Prematurity Awareness, a national campaign organized by the March of Dimes. According to March of Dimes, the lights symbolize hope for the future of all babies.

National landmarks including Niagara Falls and Chicago’s famed Wrigley Building will be joining hospitals across the country to commemorate this important initiative.

“Last year alone we cared for 659 premature babies born under five pounds and 8 ounces,” said Laura Harris, RN, a staff member in MVH’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the hospital’s representative for the March of Dimes Walk. “Our support of Prematurity Awareness Month and the March of Dimes lets others know that many babies are at risk.

Harris says that the impact of prematurity does not end at birth.  Some premature babies have lifelong health issues.  “By raising awareness of this threat to infant health, we can help give babies a better chance to develop full-term and to lead healthier lives,” says Harris.

MVH is the only hospital in the region that meets the perinatal needs of both high-risk mothers and premature infants in one convenient location. Last spring, the hospital began a $19 million renovation and expansion of the NICU located in the Berry Women’s Health Pavilion. When completed in spring of 2009, the expansion will provide 51,000 square feet of space (compared to 22,000) and 60 bassinets (compared to the current 49). Each of the bassinets will be in a private room, a significant departure from the unit’s open environment.