SOURCE: March of Dimes Foundation, Western Region

March of Dimes

November 09, 2016 12:30 ET

March of Dimes and American Medical Response Hold Baby Showers for Hundreds of Inland Empire Families With Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Four Area Hospitals During Prematurity Awareness Month

RIVERSIDE, CA--(Marketwired - November 09, 2016) - When a baby comes too soon, the family's world is immediately turned upside down. All plans and dreams suddenly are changed, and the family begins riding an emotional roller coaster -- with good and bad days. March of Dimes, the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health, is teaming up with presenting sponsor, American Medical Response (AMR), to hold four baby showers for hundreds of families whose babies came too soon. The baby showers take place this month, Prematurity Awareness Month, at four Inland Empire hospitals: November 3 at Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside, November 8 at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in San Bernardino County, November 10 at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, and November 15 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Each baby shower starts at 6:00 p.m.

One in ten babies in the United States is born preterm, one of the highest preterm birth rates among high-resource countries. Babies born too soon may have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and learning disabilities. November is Prematurity Awareness Month. In 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 5,197 babies were born preterm in San Bernardino and Riverside counties -- or 14 babies per day born too soon. Babies aren't fully developed until at least 39 weeks gestation, and every week of pregnancy counts. Important development of the brain, lungs, and eyes occurs during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Babies born earlier than 37 weeks gestation are deemed preterm.

"Most families in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) missed the joy of celebrating the upcoming birth of their baby with families and loved ones. They were unexpectedly thrown into a whole new chaotic world. We decided to bring the baby shower to them," said Chris Huyett, March of Dimes Senior Development Manager, Inland Empire.

"Normally, our role is to serve families in their moment of crisis. We are delighted to support March of Dimes in creating a few hours for these families to pause and celebrate the birth of their child," said Doug Key, Regional Director of AMR.

"Many of these families need respite from the days of worry and fear in the unfamiliar surroundings they find themselves. We are grateful to March of Dimes for all the research, advocacy, education and support they do to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality," said Dr. Donna Goff, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital.

Families and NICU staff are invited to enjoy a typical baby shower with delicious food, gifts, games and prizes. Gifts have been generously donated by local businesses including Target, Summer Infant, and other community service clubs.

About March of Dimes

Each year nearly 4,000,000 babies are born in the United States and March of Dimes touches each one of them through research, education, support, and advocacy. March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Premature birth and its complications are now the leading global cause of death for children under 5 years old. Premature birth costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or for resources in Spanish, nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. A wealth of educational video resources is available on our YouTube channel.

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