New KET special examines high rates and devastating effects of preterm birth in Kentucky

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Born Too Soon reveals the shocking statistics and long-term effects of premature birth in Kentucky. The program examines causes of preterm birth; the impact of scheduling labor for convenience; and efforts across the state to address this serious and costly health issue.

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According to the March of Dimes, prematurity is the number one cause of death for newborn infants. In the United States, about 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely, and Kentucky has one of the highest rates of preterm births in the nation.

Premature babies are at a higher risk of respiratory distress, bleeding in the brain and death. They are also more likely to have serious life-long problems, including cerebral palsy; mental retardation; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; and heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes as adults. Research suggests that babies born even just a few weeks early can develop serious problems.

Born Too Soon visits the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Trover Clinic in Madisonville and University of Kentucky HealthCare’s children’s hospital in Lexington, where premature infants fight for their lives.

The program meets parents of preemies, who share their eye-opening and moving stories, including one mom whose early C-section led to a rollercoaster of emotion in the NICU. And, viewers hear from doctors and experts about the important efforts to reduce the number of preterm births in Kentucky and nationwide. Some of the root causes of the current preterm birth crisis are examined along with programs that help moms and promote full-term pregnancies.

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Born Too Soon: A KET Special Report is a KET production, and is funded, in part, by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky; Laura Kreuger, producer. KET developed this program in collaboration with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the March of Dimes.