Although she’s not pregnant, Grammy nominated RCA recording artist and Tony Award winner Heather Headley has joined the March of Dimes to educate women — especially black women — about what they can do to reduce their chances of having a premature baby.
“I’m not pregnant, but I want my nine months someday,” Ms. Headley says in a new campaign launched at Harlem Hospital today to kick-off Prematurity Awareness Month. The campaign urges women to take action before pregnancy by talking to their health care providers about their risk for having a premature baby.
Prematurity (birth before 37 weeks gestation) is the nation’s leading cause of death in the first month of life and many babies who survive have serious health problems. Premature birth affects 1 of every 8 babies, including 1 in 6 black babies in the U.S.
“Prematurity has reached a crisis point, and we’re concerned about the higher toll of prematurity in the black community. We’re delighted to have Heather’s dedication to this effort,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Socioeconomic factors don’t explain the racial disparities. Even well-educated African-American women face a higher risk of a premature baby.”
“At Harlem Hospital, we see the increase in premature babies and the long- term consequences that may develop,” said Dr. Edgar O. Mandeville, chief of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Harlem Hospital. “We’re proud to partner with the March of Dimes to raise awareness of this growing problem.”
The campaign gives women 9 questions to ask their health care providers to help them get their full 9 months of pregnancy. The campaign features Ms. Headley’s single Am I Worth It. Campaign materials and a press kit are available at: http://marchofdimes.com/aboutus/15796_22045.asp.