US Cities, Landmarks Dress Up to Support Premature Babies and Their Families

US Cities, Landmarks Dress Up to Support Premature Babies and Their Families

Purple lights will be reflected on streets and landmarks across the U.S., from state Capitols to the Empire State building in New York, to raise awareness about premature births and to honor the families coping with the daily struggles of having a premature baby.

November 2016 is the national Prematurity Awareness Month, and Nov. 17, in particular, marks the 6th annual World Prematurity Day (WPD).

According to a press release, premature babies (born prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy)  are at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy, cognitive difficulties, vision loss, jaundice, and respiratory problems as they grow.

Previous large-scale studies, using hospital data, have shown that some lifelong health issues — like cerebral palsy — can be traced to a shortened gestation period.

To provide a note of encouragement and to better explain the risks associated with premature birth, events are planned at hospital newborn intensive care units (NICUs) in New York City, Chicago, and Houston.

The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, is also planning gourmet meals for a Utah-based NICU, while medical “summits” on the issue are set  for California, Oregon, and Virginia this month. In Georgia, a candlelight ceremony titled “Lost But Not Forgotten” is planned, while Alabama will launch a “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” program.

Singer Ally Brooke Hernandez, a “premie,” and chefs Jacques Torres and Kelsey Nixon are among those supporting these efforts.

Updates on events and information relevant to this initiative can be found on social media under the #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday tags.

Among the building being bathed in purple are Capitol buildings in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee; the Union Plaza Building in Little Rock, Arizona; the Arkansas River bridges; the Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville, Florida; the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; the Biloxi Lighthouse in Mississippi; the Pacific Science Center, Seattle; and Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

Premature birth is considered the leading cause of death worldwide among children under age 5.