Join us as we share tips and resources to help reduce the risk of
premature birth, and support new parents of premature babies.
Prematurity Awareness Spotlight On...
In an effort to share resources to expectant families, mothers/birthing persons, as well as their extended Village of support during Prematurity Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight some of our partners and Village Fund grantees who are working to help families who are experiencing a premature birth, as well as those who can be part of the plan to take preventative measures to ensure a healthy and joyous birthing experience.
If your organization is interested in learning more about the Village Fund and applying for the current round of funding, click HERE.
Mighty Little Giants
Mighty Little Giants (MLG) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates through providing support, education, and hope for Black mothers/birthing persons and fathers experiencing preterm deliveries resulting in long-term stays in hospital NICUs.
Jessica Wade is the founding President and CEO of Mighty Little Giants. After her own experience with a difficult pregnancy that resulted in the early delivery of her son who had a 143-day stay in the NICU, Wade vowed to help other families who are enduring similar challenges. Wade is also the Manager of Maternal Infant Health Initiatives for the San Diego County, a Certified Lactation Education Specialist (CLES), and a Certified Doula.
MLG’s mission is to stand in the gap with and for Black families with babies in the NICU by embracing MLG’s core values: Integrity, Compassion, and Encouragement. Within its mission, one of its main goals is to empower the prenatal moms/birthing people that the organization supports (that are on bedrest) with the tools they need to advocate for a joyous birthing experience. For families who have babies in the NICU, MLG strives to provide them with peace, education, compassion, and support in the midst of their storm.
MLG’s programs include:
- NICU Support
- NICU Doula Support
- Essential Self-Care Kits
- Life After the NICU
- Mighty Little Angels (Grief Support Group)
- Mighty Meals and Wheels
You can follow @mightylittlegiants on Instagram for more content related to Prematurity Awareness Month. Read Mighty Little Giants’ Village Fund grantee profile HERE.
Parenting For Liberation
AAIMM Village Fund grantee, Parenting for Liberation (P4L), was launched in 2016 as a virtual platform designed to connect, inspire, and uplift Black families. As systemic racism — as well as social and other stressors — plays a role in Black infant and maternal mortality, P4L is an organization that supports Black parents in their efforts to heal from historical and ongoing trauma while interrupting intergenerational violence. It is committed to building resilient and joyful Black families within the community it serves.
Recently, its Black Mama Magic event provided gifts, music, photos, and community resources to approximately 75 Black mothers. The goal was to provide positive energy, support, healing, and rest for mothers after a difficult year of isolation and loss. P4L also has a podcast and a book authored by Founder & Executive Director, Trina Greene Brown.
Parenting For Liberation’s programs include:
- Healing Justice/Self Care Sessions
- “From Trauma to Triumph” Workshop Series
- “Building Black Parent Power” Advocacy Trainings
- Liberated Parenting Coaching & Circles
- Black Family Gatherings
Read Parenting For Liberation’s full Village Fund grantee profile HERE.
Black Infant Health
California Black Infant Health (BIH) aims to help women have healthy babies within a culturally supportive environment, while honoring the unique history of Black women. BIH provides culturally-appropriate services that respect each participant’s values and beliefs. The program includes empowerment-focused group support services and client-centered life planning to improve the health and social conditions for Black women and their families.
BIH is funded by Federal Title V MCH Block Grant Funds, Federal Title XIX (Medicaid) Funds and State General Funds. The services are free and are provided by Family Health Advocates, Group Facilitators, Public Health Nurses and Social Workers. The program is open to Black women who are 16 years or older and pregnant, or up to six months postpartum at the time of enrollment regardless of income.
Program services include:
- 10 prenatal and 10 postpartum group sessions designed to empower and support participants
- Individual client-centered life-planning sessions
- Case management for clients who are unable to attend the traditional group model
For more information on BIH, how to join, or for additional data and reporting, please visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CFH/DMCAH/BIH/.
March of Dimes
March of Dimes has been working to improve the health outcomes for all moms/birthing persons and babies for over 80 years. It is committed to guiding moms/birthing persons through every stage of the pregnancy journey to help ensure the best possible outcomes for healthy and joyous births. March of Dimes supports research, leads programs, and provides education and advocacy. It offers a variety of programs via healthcare and community partnerships.
Programs and areas of focus include:
- Prenatal education, support and care
- NICU initiatives
- Professional education
- Igniting Impact Together
The March of Dimes 2021 Report Card
On November 15, right before Prematurity Awareness Day (Nov. 17), March of Dimes released its annual report card. Per its website, “The Report Card offers a comprehensive overview of the health of moms and babies across the U.S. The report grades the U.S. states, Puerto Rico and 100 cities on preterm birth rates, and includes other information such as infant death, social vulnerability, low-risk cesarean births, and state efforts on Medicaid expansion and extension, doula and midwives legislation/policies, among other factors and outlines important policy solutions that can make a difference.” Its 2021 Report Card can be found HERE.
According to the 2021 Report Card, the state of California overall earned a “B” grade with an 8.8% preterm birth rate, a decrease from 9% in 2019. The infant mortality rate is 4.1 as compared to 5.6 in the U.S. overall. This shows a positive downward trend for the state. However, the disparity ratio worsened with Black women/birthing persons having a preterm birth rate of 12.2% — 58% higher than the best rate (White women/birthing persons at 7.7%). In fact, in California, the preterm birth rate among Black women is 44% higher than the rate among all other women.
When looking at counties within the state of California, Los Angeles County — where the work of AAIMM is centered — had a 9.2% preterm birth rate in 2021, with a “B-” score. This unfortunately showed a worsening rate from the previous year. The city of Los Angeles did not change, however, ranking at a “C” grade with a 9.5% preterm birth rate. Overall, these findings display an increased need for our work to narrow the gap in the disparity ratio and end Black infant mortality within the city and county of Los Angeles.
The Report Card goes further to address and examine the social determinants of health at the county level using the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). These are measured using 15 social factors, grouped into four areas including: socioeconomic status; household composition and disability; minority status and language; housing type and transportation. It also lists policy measures that can improve infant and maternal health outcomes.
AAIMM "Dear Baby"...
For Prematurity Awareness Month, the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative created a pamphlet to provide practical tips, resources, and guidance for expectant mothers/birthing persons to assist in decreasing the disproportionately high rates of premature births among Black infants.
This downloadable Prematurity Awareness Tip Guide is broken down into five sections:
- Know the Signs
- Activate Your Village
We encourage you to share this resource with expectant families, as well as their extended Village.
PREMATURITY AWARENESS MONTH NOV 1-30TH
As part of our continued effort to promote and celebrate healthy and joyous births for Black families in Los Angeles County, the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative is commemorating Prematurity Awareness Month (Nov. 1-30) by sharing messages of hope, healing, and a call to activate “The Village” as an anchor of support for families in the prevention of premature births and for families with babies born prematurely.
As premature birth is the second leading cause of infant mortality, and Black women in particular have the highest rate of premature births in the state of California (12%, according the 2020 March of Dimes Report Card, which is 48% higher than the best rate), this effort is closely aligned with the mission of AAIMM. If we can prevent premature birth, we can have a significant impact on reducing the rate of Black infant death overall—and that is why our work is so important.
Throughout the month of November, we hope to create conversations and will share information about:
- Looking for/knowing the signs of a potential premature birth
- Information about prevention/risk
- Help in the event of a premature delivery
We invite you to join us in our efforts by:
- Following us on social media @blackinfantsandfamiliesla and sharing our campaign messages throughout the month
- Use hashtag #PrematurityAwarenessMonth, #WorldPrematurityDay and #ActivateYourVillage to share your own stories and those of others
- Download our Prematurity Awareness: Activate Your Village as an Anchor of Support Tip Sheet and share it with others (coming soon)
- Hosting or attending events and conversations around the subject of Premature Birth and prevention during the month of November
- Get involved with our partnering organizations who are doing work to directly help families who are experiencing premature birth and/or stays in the NICU: March of Dimes and Mighty Little Giants
Together, we can help close the gap and help usher in an era of joyous and healthy births for Black infants and families. Thank you for being a part of our village!
March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Month 2021
Join March of Dimes in the fight for full-term pregnancies and ending preventable preterm birth, so all babies and families can have the best possible start.
Click here for more information.
NICU AWARENESS MONTH: SEPTEMBER 1 - 31
According to the March of Dimes, during 2017-2019 in the United States, preterm birth rates were highest for Black infants (14.0%) on average compared to babies of other races. In the state of California, the rate of premature births for Black infants is 12% and the preterm birth rate among Black women/birthing persons is 43% higher than the rate among all other women. The African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative is working to bring about equitable birthing outcomes for all babies and, therefore, holds this effort to help preemies thrive close to our mission.
September 1-31 is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month, a month dedicated to honoring the families of critically ill and prematurely born infants who are experiencing stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the health professionals who care for them. This month, we are highlighting our AAIMM Prevention Initiative partners, March of Dimes, and Village Fund Grantee, Mighty Little Giants, who are both working to help families with prematurely born babies ensure that their little ones have the best chance for a hopeful, healthy future.
March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support® Program provides resources and support to NICU families and hospital staff. Along with printed and digital materials, and parent education curriculum, they also have the My NICU Baby® App available for free to download. The app provides NICU families with answers, tools, and support.
Read our profile on Mighty Little Giants, join their upcoming events, and follow them on Facebook (@mightylittlegiants) for information and Facebook Live Q & As.
Thank you for supporting our efforts to ensure that all mothers/birthing persons have a chance at a joyful birthing experience and that all babies are given an equal opportunity to be healthy and thrive. You are the Village that helps make it happen!
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