Charity Spotlight: MARCH OF DIMES

June 29, 2021 5 min read

Editor: Rebecca 

While meeting mamas across the US on our #MHROADTRIP, we’re giving back to their communities! Help us support mamas and babies by getting involved in charities like March Of Dimes, or by purchasing our Mamma Charity Tee $2 per tee is donated to these nonprofit organizations benefiting mothers & babies in need – we like to call it a “chari-tee.” 

MEET MARCH OF DIMES

Our Houston mama, Oma, partnered with March of Dimes: a national organization that leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. The Arlington, Virginia based organization focuses on research, programs, education and advocating for policies – all of which work to fight the maternal and infant health crisis. By being a guiding light for moms at every stage of pregnancy, they hope to give every family the best possible start.

Mission statement:
March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them and radically improve the health care they receive. From advocacy to education to research, we’re working to level the playing field so that all parents, babies and their families have the support they need today and for generations to come.

How do you assist moms and babies?
Together with our supporters, we’re protecting the health of families by funding research, providing resources and programs and advocating for policies to help parents throughout pregnancy and childbirth.

Stats and facts:
The U.S. is facing an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis and in 2021 we’re still among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. While infant mortality rates are still declining, two babies still die every hour and a woman dies every 12 hours from pregnancy-related causes.

Some highlights from 2020:
We advanced critical research by funding five Prematurity Research Centers (PRCs) located at hospitals, medical centers and universities in the U.S. and London, with total funding (due to no-cost extensions) for 2020 amounting to $5.75 million.

We reached more than 50,000 families in 2020 through our NICU Initiatives, including the NICU Family Support® program and the My NICU Baby® App, which provides tips on caring for a baby in the NICU and at home. 

March of Dimes also demanded #BlanketChange in memory of the 700 women who die each year from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes by calling on policymakers to prioritize our nation’s moms and babies and take immediate action to improve their health. More than 2,000 new advocates signed on to demand #BlanketChange.   

We met the needs of families by publishing important reports that shed light on racial disparities in health care and establishing a fund to raise critical money to improve mom and baby health.

  • The Mom and Baby COVID-19 Intervention and Support Fund addressed the urgent need for research, advocacy, education, resources and support to protect moms, babies and families from COVID-19 and the unknown future effects of the virus.
  • The 2020 March of Dimes Report Card was provided a comprehensive view of mom and baby health beyond grading states based on preterm birth rates. It included infant death, inadequate prenatal care and important policy solutions.
  • The Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. report released in September 2020 found that 2.2 million women live in maternity care deserts—counties with no hospitals offering obstetric care—and 7 million women of childbearing age live in counties without access or with limited access to maternity care.

Milestones and achievements:
During the initial wave of COVID-19 infections, March of Dimes pivoted to protect and support families who needed us more than ever. We created Supportive Pregnancy Care (SPVG) to provide social support and education to expecting individuals in a safe, virtual space. In 2020, including repeat attendees, we hosted hundreds of pregnant individuals at our Supportive Pregnancy Care  sites and for SPVG sessions.

To help families cope with this health emergency, we hosted Healthy Moms Strong Babies webinars, reaching more than 1.4 million people.

Across the country we provided critical medical supplies to health care workers and information to families, including:

  • 5,200+ meals
  • 21,800+ masks
  • 80+ tablets to allow families to see and connect with babies in the NICU
  • 225 breast pumps
  • 2,100+ NICU bags with essentials for families
  • 450+ blood pressure cuffs 

Also in response to COVID-19, we launched the NICU Online Education Series nationwide to support all families and answer questions with NICU clinical staff. We invested in HIPAA compliant Zoom accounts so our NFS Program Coordinators could work with families virtually, and meet with those who couldn't be present in the NICU.

March of Dimes’ impact:
Early in the pregnancy of her son, Adrian, Keelee Moseley sensed something might be wrong. She went for a checkup, but the doctor said everything was fine and normal. She insisted that he check her cervix.

And she was right. Keelee's cervix had dilated. She was sent home to wait for labor to progress. At only 21 weeks, she was told her son would most likely not survive. After making it through the night, Keelee was admitted to the hospital where she made it to 23 weeks. Adrian was born via emergency C-section, more than four months too soon. He weighed just 1 pound. Keelee went home, but in excessive pain and running a high fever, she returned to the ER.

She felt dismissed in triage and her health began to further decline. Doctors finally realized Keelee had advanced Necrotizing Fasciitis, an aggressive flesh-eating disease, and she was rushed to emergency surgery. "Knowing that it was preventable was the hardest thing to grasp," Keelee recalled.

Keelee was in the hospital for 34 days; Adrian spent 144 days in the NICU. "March of Dimes has given us a space to grieve or to heal," said Keelee. "It gives me the encouragement that there's an organization out there working towards creating a better experience for moms and babies.”

Goals for the Year Ahead:
Every mom and baby should be healthy regardless of wealth, race, gender or geography. To do this we want the community to be a part of this critical movement by:

  • Join us. Become a maternal and infant health advocate. Advocate for yourself, and advocate for others.
  • Volunteer in a local or national capacity.
  • Take part in our efforts to advocate for policies that promote the health of women, children and families.

    Mother's Day and baby shower events:
    Since 2015, Philips and March of Dimes have hosted Mission: Healthy Baby educational baby showers at bases around the country, ‘showering’ more than 2,000 expectant U.S. military moms during this timeframe. In addition to a supportive form for delivering critical prenatal education, Philips has donated AVENT products such as breast pumps, baby monitors, employee-made diaper cakes and blanket bundles, plus their employees volunteer to help support these showers.

    Like many organizations, March of Dimes is not immune to the impact of the pandemic. We were able to pivot our staff early on to focus on how best to support the families that need us the most.

    In honor of moms and moms-to-be, former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East and supporting partners joined March of Dimes in May for the It Starts With Mom  campaign. Through a series of week-long activities, we engaged moms, families and leading health experts through a multi-day effort across social media and a virtual live event to raise awareness of the changing role of motherhood and how communities can support them.

    How to donate:
    As a donor-driven organization, we rely on the public’s generosity to fund our mission. Anyone interested in donating can do so at MarchofDimes.org. We deliver on our mission by:

    • Investing in groundbreaking research to understand, treat and prevent serious maternal and infant health problems.
    • Advocating for federal and state-level policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies.
    • Educating health professionals to improve mom and baby care.

      Donate, learn more or volunteer by visiting MarchofDimes.org

      Read more about the charities the Motherhood community supports.
       
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