Organization works to raise awareness and lower number of preter - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Organization works to raise awareness and lower number of preterm births

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A premature baby cuddles with his father. A premature baby cuddles with his father.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

In the United States, 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year according to the March of Dimes.

Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri recently received a C grade from the March of Dimes due to the number of babies born prematurely in the states. Only four states in the country received an A.

Central Illinois Director Jennifer Benanti says it's all about lowering the numbers.

"A certain percentage of babies that were born preterm or premature during the time frame the grading took place," Benanti said. "What that means is basically in the states between 9.3 and 10.1 percent were born premature."

A number of factors can impact if a baby is born prematurely and Benanti says some can be prevented.

"We always say don't smoke when you're pregnant, alcohol, illicit and illegal drug use, prescription drug use and obesity can sometimes trigger that as well," Benanti added.

Benanti says prenatal care is important for expected mothers as the organization sees those who don't receive the care often are preterm mothers.

The March of Dimes also funds research and advocacy to help prevent all the cases of premature births possible. Tune in Tuesday to hear from a mother who experienced a premature birth and share the difficult moments after it.

To hear how a mother handled the experience of having a premature baby, click here.

For more on the struggles a preterm baby faces in their development, click here.

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