BINGHAMTON, NY – Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network is working to raise awareness of the frequency of premature births and steps pregnant women can take to reduce the risks.
Mothers and Babies Executive Director Sharon Chesna was joined by staff from Wilson Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit, or NICU, and Patricia Cordner, mother of a premature baby.
Cordner’s daughter Shania was born at 34 weeks, weighing 4 pounds and 4 ounces.
Shania spent 2 and a half weeks in the Wilson NICU.
Cordner says she’s very grateful for the care provided by the nurses and staff at Wilson.
“I felt very comfortable with the staff. They always made sure that at any time if I was scared, they would explain everything, make sure everything was okay. A lot of times I was very scared, as a young mother anybody would be,” says Cordner.
Today, Shania is healthy and growing.
Cordner says she’s gone from being in the third percentile for size to the 97th.
Chesna says the pandemic has increased the number of premature births, which average about 10 percent of all births.
To reduce the risk, pregnant women should maintain a health weight, not drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs.
They should eat a healthy diet, get regular doctor checkups, reduce stress and protect themselves against infections.
Chesna says that includes getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We’re really trying to get the word out of how important it is for pregnant women to get vaccinated. That it is safe to be vaccinated during pregnancy and the benefits it can provide to her and her baby,” says Chesna.
Chesna says COVID has been proven to cause premature births or even death of the fetus in some cases.
Tomorrow is Prematurity Awareness Day and in recognition, many downtown Binghamton businesses have agreed to light their buildings purple.
People are also encouraged to wear purple tomorrow.