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Nov 7, 2014 5:42 PM

New Hampshire gets 'A' for reducing preterm births


MANCHESTER - The March of Dimes releases its annual premature birth report card and gives New Hampshire an "A" grade. Only five states made the top grade. The national grade was a

Despite that, the national preterm birth rate fell in 2013 to the lowest level in 17 years to 11.4% - meeting the federal Healthy People goal seven years early.

It's even better in New Hampshire where only 9% of births were premature.

One Manchester family who knows the issue well. Jill Teeter's son Aidan, now seven, is a normal, healthy little boy.

Teeter said, "He's healthy and happy. He's in the first grade. He loves playing with Legos and all things inventive and creative."

His birth however, was a very different story. Born 12 weeks early Aidan was just three pounds.

Teeter said, "We were told I would be remaining in the hospital for 12 weeks until Aidan's due date and less than 24 hours after that my water broke and he was delivered by emergency C-section. He was so small my husband's wedding ring fit on his wrist as a bracelet."

One in nine babies is born preterm, that's anytime before 39 weeks. Doctors say babies like Aidan are at risk of having lung and breathing problems, brain hemorrhages, vision trouble and infections - just to name a few...

"All of the things that are normally taking place in the womb are now taking place in a high tech environment," said Teeter.

Aidan had to stay in that high-tech environment at New Hampshire's Hospital for Children in Manchester for seven weeks...

Teeter said, "Leaving the hospital without our baby was probably one of the toughest things we've ever done. He needed to learn how to breath, suck and swallow. These reflexes that full term babies know how to do when they come out of the womb, and he needed to grow, eat and get stronger."

He may have been a little guy with the odds stacked against him, but he had a big fighting spirit. Looking at him now it's hard to believe he started out so small.

Aidan said, "I'm actually kind of embarrassed." When asked if it's because he was so little he said, "Yeah."

Aidan is now the March of Dimes 2014 national ambassador. Check him out on Facebook.

For more information on the March of Dimes report card go to marchofdimes.org/reportcard.


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