November - Prematurity Awareness Month

TULLAHOMA, TN (October 30, 2020) - If you are the parent of a premature baby, you already know the extra stress and worry that is associated with the experience. If you are expecting, it’s no secret that quality pre-natal care is essential to ensuring your baby is carried to term.

“The number of premature births is significant,” said Dr. C. Scott Hays, board-certified Ob/Gyn. “In the U.S. alone, one in ten babies is born prematurely, and worldwide, 15 million infants are born too soon.”

While there have been significant advancements in the care of premature babies, there are often long-term consequences associated with premature birth. That is why it is absolutely vital that expectant mothers seek quality, professional care.

Who is at risk?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the following groups of women have the greatest risk of preterm labor and birth. Women:

  • who have had a previous preterm birth
  • who are pregnant with multiples
  • who use tobacco/abuse substances
  • who have short time (less than 18 months) between pregnancies

If you fall into one of these categories, it is not a guarantee that you will go into preterm labor and delivery. You simply have extra risk factors and should be in close contact with your doctor regarding the appropriate methods for ensuring you carry your baby to term.

“The recommended goal is 39 weeks,” said Dr. Hays. “Babies develop significantly during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. The brain, lungs and liver are just a few of the vital organs still developing during this time.”

At Tennova Healthcare – Harton, in addition to providing the capabilities of a Level I unit, a Level II unit is available for delivery and care of infants at 32 weeks or more of gestation who weigh more than or equal to 1,500 grams. These infants may have conditions such as respiratory problems after delivery, apnea of prematurity, inability to maintain body temperature, or inability to take food by mouth.

Tennova Healthcare – Harton provides the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Coffee, Franklin, Lincoln, and Bedford counties. To speak further with Dr. Hays, contact him at Tennova Women’s Health, 931-461-1101. Dr. Hays now has offices in Tullahoma and Manchester.