Thursday, April 15, 2010

March of Dimes CenteringPregnancy(R) Grants Show Progress in Reducing C-Sections, Preterm Birth and Low-Birthweight Babies

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, Kmart honors a March of Dimes-supported group prenatal care program that has successfully reduced c-sections, preterm births and low-birthweight babies during a ceremony at The Institute for Family Health (IFH) in Manhattan.

The March of Dimes provided support totaling $1.27 million in 2009 alone to fund more than 60 CenteringPregnancy programs in 31 of its chapters nationwide. Since 2005, the March of Dimes has invested $4.13 million to fund the expansion of this model of care to more clinics and more women.

The Institute for Family Health has successfully implemented the program, helping their prenatal patients decrease c-sections from 28 percent to 21 percent, preterm births from 8.3 percent to 1.8 percent and decreased low birthweight from 8.3 percent to 2.65 percent, according to results of an IFH evaluation of its 2008-2009 CenteringPregnancy® groups. The group model of prenatal care was developed by the Centering Healthcare Institute, which provides training and support to healthcare providers to adopt this proven intervention.

"It is such a privilege to see first-hand the amazing, life-changing work that is supported by the March of Dimes," said Mark Snyder, Kmart's chief marketing officer. "As a result of our employees and customers' generosity, Kmart is proud to have surpassed the $80 million fundraising milestone this year, and we look forward to continuing our support of such a generous organization and celebrating our shared commitment to giving babies a healthy start in life."

Kmart, the March of Dimes' largest and oldest corporate March for Babies sponsor, will donate gifts to 20 mothers who participated in the Institute's CenteringPregnancy program. Earlier today, Kmart and the March of Dimes opened the world's largest electronic exchange, NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

"We are thrilled to demonstrate to Kmart, our number one sponsor, that their support is making a difference to improve the health of babies and save lives," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "For Kmart to provide these moms, who have participated in the CenteringPregnancy program here at the Institute for Family Health, with gift certificates in addition to their countrywide support for March for Babies, I am truly grateful."

Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant death in the United States, and babies who survive face serious lifelong health problems. More than 543,000 babies are born too soon each year, and the nation's premature birth rate has increased 36 percent since the early 1980s. Each year, preterm births cost the nation more than $26 billion. Worldwide, about 13 million babies are born prematurely each year.

Interest in the CenteringPregnancy model has grown due to a randomized, controlled trial reported in 2007 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, which found that women who received CenteringPregnancy care were 33 percent less likely to have preterm births than women who received standard prenatal care.

"CenteringPregnancy is one of a small number of programs that we know work to reduce premature birth," said Dr. Scott Berns, senior vice president of Chapter Programs, March of Dimes. "Since the evidence has mounted, we have stepped up our investment to make this model available to thousands more women every year."

March for Babies events happen in more than 900 communities all across the United States. Most occur the last weekend of April. To join an event near you, visit

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