Published Thursday, January 03, 2013
From STAFF REPORTS
Ja’Taurean Payton, the first baby born in Coweta County this year, arrived at 2:31 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
The baby boy was welcomed with baskets of goodies from the hospital’s women’s services department, and the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
The 2013 hospital basket was a bathtub covered in diapers with teething rings for faucets and a blanket and diapers for the spout. The basket was filled with diapers, a stuffed duck, rubber ducky, bulb syringe, baby bath, shampoo, Vaseline comb and brush set, washcloths, frog loofah with soap and a waterproof book. Ellon Love has been organizing the New Year’s Baby baskets at the hospital for 20 years.
The March of Dimes says babies born in 2013 will live longer and are less likely to have a birth defect than those born 75 years ago. They are also much less likely to die from an infectious disease, thanks to widespread use of vaccinations to prevent polio, rubella, measles and several other infections.
The March of Dimes was founded in January 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A polio sufferer himself, FDR founded the organization to “lead, direct and unify” the fight against polio. The March of Dimes funded the development of the Salk vaccine, which was tested in 1954 and licensed a year later, as well as the Sabin vaccine, which became available in 1962. Nearly all babies born today still receive this lifesaving injection. More information about March of Dimes history can be found at marchofdimes.com/75.
“The birth of every baby is a joy and something to celebrate,” said Sheila Ryan, state director for the March of Dimes. “Babies such as Ja’Taurean who are born in this March of Dimes Anniversary year represent how far we have come in infant health – and how much more we can do for our babies. We’re thrilled to be working together with Piedmont Newnan Hospital toward a day when every baby gets a healthy start in life.”
The March of Dimes is providing newborn gift bags to the first baby born at hospitals across the state of Georgia. The newborn gift bags include products from the March of Dimes and various companies. Piedmont Newnan Hospital is excited to be a part of this endeavor to celebrate both the health advances of the March of Dimes and its 75th Anniversary.
“The March of Dimes has long been the leader in newborn health, and we are thrilled to join forces with them to not only honor the first baby born at our hospital in the new year, but to continue the fight to ensure that one day, all babies are born healthy,” said Kelly Hines, Piedmont Newnan Hospital public relations director.
Today, about 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes helps each and every one of them through its history of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Babies born in 2013 can expect to live about 78 years, 14 years longer than an infant born in 1938, when the life expectancy was only 64.
Babies born next year also will be screened for 31 genetic, metabolic, hormonal and/or functional conditions, including PKU (phenylketonuria) within the first hours of birth. March of Dimes grantee Dr. Robert Guthrie developed the mass PKU test, the first of many newborn screening tests infants now receive, and allowed for prevention of intellectual disabilities through diet. Today, every baby born in every state in the U.S. receives screening for dozens of conditions that could cause catastrophic health problems or death if not detected and then treated promptly at birth.
Many serious birth defects have declined over these 75 years. For example, neural tube defects or NTDs (birth defects of the brain and spine) have decreased by nearly one-third since 1998, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated that grain foods such as bread and pasta be fortified with folic acid.
Today, the March of Dimes is working to prevent the epidemic of premature birth, which affects nearly a half million babies every year. Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait.” The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.