March of Dimes Report Card - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

March of Dimes Report Card

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (News Channel 5)- Jessica Thompson has given birth to three children and they all came early. Her son Caleb spent 91 days in the NICU.

"An entire month after I had him I wasn't allowed to touch him because he was just too frail," says Thompson.

Louisiana is one of just three states to receive a failing grade on the newest Premature Birth Report Card....meaning too many babies are born prematurely.

"I feel like this F should really really raise the eyebrows of our community to say why is that?" says Tarnisha Brady-Williams, Division Director for the Cenla chapter of the March of Dimes.

In Jessica's case, her children came early naturally, but in many cases women choose to have early C-sections or inductions for various reasons.

"I want my child born on the father's birthday or my grandmother is Elizabeth so I want them born on this day. They have a preference and they shouldn't have. It's still a life," says Brady-Williams.

The March of Dimes says that all healthy babies need to stay in the womb for 37 weeks. Any born earlier are considered premature which could lead to health problems.

"You get tired. You get swollen. You're just ready to go but is it really worth your child's health?" says Brady-Williams.

They say that the key to improving the state's grade in the future is to continue to spread the word.

"If the community is more involved then we can educate. Once we educate we'll raise awareness and then everything else will fall in place."

And to continue educating mothers who do have a choice...to let the bun bake.

"Any additional day when they're that you're pregnant and they're that small- counts," adds Thompson.

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