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Speech Title: Preterm Childbirth Specific Purpose Statement: My audience will learn about preterm birth as well as the causes of it and ways to prevent it. Central Idea: Preterm childbirth is the leading cause of death in infants, and it is important that we know that there are ways to prevent preterm birth and care for babies who are born prematurely. Method of Organization: Topical Introduction: I. In a time where everything is seemingly at our fingertips, it can be difficult for us to adjust to things that are out of our control.

Sometimes we don’t always get what we expect. We may have the perfect plan for what we are doing in life, and then something out of our control changes and our entire plan is forced to change with it. Can you imagine trying to prepare yourself for a child you are about to bring into this world, and you plan out your next 9 months to ensure that you have everything ready for when your child gets here, only for your child to surprise you by coming into this world x amount of months earlier than expected?

Few parents plan for the possibility of a preterm birth, but members of the March of Dimes foundation, a prestigious organization designed to raise awareness as well as doing research and finding cures for birth defects and the crisis of prematurity, tells us that more than 1 in 10 babies are born preterm, and the numbers go up every year. II. Premature birth occurs when a baby is born any time prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. (Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks. ) Premature birth is the leading cause of death in newborns, and one of the leading causes of death for infants. March of Dimes 2006) Preemie’s (babies born preterm) who survive often have multiple health problems. III. Ever since my nephew was born 3months prematurely, I have been interested in and concerned about premature childbirth. Anyone who may have children someday should be aware of the possibility of preterm birth, and what it may bring. IV. With that in mind, I’ll discuss some of the statistics of preterm childbirth, as well as the causes of preterm childbirth and also how it can be prevented. An Overview of Preterm Birth: I.

The March of Dimes organization keeps up to date records on the facts of preterm birth, a lot of them are mind-blowing and may come as a shock. A. Every year, 15 million babies are born too soon. B. The United States is one of the top ten countries where preterm births occur. C. There has been an increase in preterm birth rates over the past 20 years. II. The death rates of preterm births may also come as a shock. A. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in newborns (babies in the first four weeks of life) and is now the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of 5. (March of Dimes) B. 0% of premature children under the age of 5 die as newborns. 1. For babies who survive, there is an increased risk of disability, which exacts a heavy load on families and health systems. C. Over ? of premature babies who die could be saved if basic care reached them and their mothers. D. The chance of survival of the 15million babies who are born preterm each year varies dramatically depending on where the baby is born. E. 90% of extremely preterm babies that are born in low-income countries die within the first few days of life, while less than 10% of extremely preterm babies die in high income settings. March of Dimes) 1. The reason for this is because high-income countries have more information about the causes of preterm birth. Causes: I. Preterm childbirth can be linked to many different causes, but there are a few causes of preterm childbirth that are more common than others. A. One of the common causes of preterm birth is excessive stretching of the uterus due to multiple pregnancies. 1. This is when the pregnancy is with twins or triplets. B. Another common cause of preterm birth is short term gaps between births. C. Another common cause of preterm birth is diseases. 1.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are examples of genetic factors. 2. Infectious diseases such as HIV are also possible factors. D. Another common cause of preterm birth is poor psychological health. 1. In most cases where this is the cause, it is a direct result of substance abuse, such as heavy alcohol use, tobacco use, and other drugs. (March of Dimes) E. Another common cause of preterm birth is adolescent pregnancy. F. Another common cause of preterm birth is unhealthy pre-pregnancy weight. 1. When the woman is either underweight or obese prior to the pregnancy.

II. A lot of preterm births happen spontaneously, and it is not uncommon for there to be no direct cause identified. (March of Dimes) A. Knowing the causes of preterm birth is helpful in assisting scientists with discovering steps for prevention of preterm birth. 1. Over 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth. 2. Many survivors face a lifetime of disability, including learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems. B. Because of all of the problems that accompany preterm birth, it is important that we know ways that we can prevent preterm childbirth.

Prevention: I. There are a few ways to prevent preterm childbirth. A. Preterm childbirth can be prevented if work places have policies that include regulations that protect women from physically demanding work. B. Preterm childbirth can be prevented through community interventions that reduce smoking, secondhand smoke exposure, and other pollutants. C. Preterm childbirth can be prevented if women are given ensured screening for and diagnosis and treatment of infections such as HIV and STI’s as well as nutritional support and counseling. D.

Preterm childbirth can be prevented if pregnant women that are at higher risk of preterm birth are provided with screening and management for the risk factors. (March of Dimes) 1. Risk factors would include multiple pregnancies, diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of preterm birth. E. Pregnancy and childbirth are critical windows of opportunity for providing effective interventions to improve maternal health and reduce morality and disability due to preterm birth. (March of Dimes) II. There are also a few ways to prevent the risk of death of premature babies.

A. Death of premature babies can be prevented with common cost-effective care. 1. This alone could save more than ? of premature babies, but low income families who experience premature births are unable to get the common care needed for a premature baby. B. Death of premature babies can be prevented just from essential newborn care for babies, including thermal care, breastfeeding support, and infection prevention and management. C. Death of premature babies can be prevented if the breathing difficulties in premature babies are effectively managed. 1.

This alone could save around 370,000 lives each year. (March of Dimes) D. Death of premature babies can be prevented through extra care for small babies, including Kangaroo Mother Care. 1. This is when the mother carries the baby skin to skin, and it could save an estimated 450,000 babies each year. (March of Dimes) Conclusion: I. As you can see, a lot of progress has been made so far in the discoveries of cures and preventions for preterm births. II. Today there are many solutions of how to prevent preterm birth as well as how to care for babies who are born prematurely. III.

Steps are being taken to spread the information to different parts of the world, and medical scientists are still working to find even more ways to prevent preterm births as well as finding new methods on caring for premature babies. Finding out more about these topics will help significantly decrease the number of premature births as well as preventing deaths of infants born prematurely. Hopefully one day we will be able to have all of the information necessary to completely prevent preterm births, or at least have definite solutions on how to prevent the deaths of babies who are born prematurely.

Works Cited Kinney M. V. , Howson, C. P, McDougall, L. , and Lawn, J. E. Born Too Soon. March of Dimes updated 12 February 2012 Web. 29 Oct. 2012 “March Of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. ” (n. d. ): Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 8 Oct. 2012. Howse, Jennifer L. Weiss, MarinaGreen, Nancy S. “Critical Role Of The March Of Dimes In The Expansion Of Newborn Screening. ” Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 12. 4 (2006): 280-287. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.

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