KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 4/18/10, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Chris Huyett, Division Director, March of Dimes, So. AZ Chapter,
and Alan Bedrick, MD, pediatrician and UA College of Medicine professor. Preterm labor and delivery can happen to any pregnant woman, even if she does everything she can to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Bedrick says premature birth is when a baby is born too early, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. He says in nearly 4 of 10 premature births, the cause is unknown.  Infections and inflammation are often to blame, he says.

Huyett, the mother of a five-year-old who was born premature, says the March of Dimes funds research aimed at identifying how gene-environment interactions play a role in preterm birth. She says it is hoped that, through research, experts will better understand how certain factors increase a woman's risk of having preterm labor or birth. She says she had “no clue” that there might be a problem until she went into labor three months early.  Her son is fine now, she says, except for being small for his age. 

Bedrick says there are things woman can do to reduce the chances of a pre-term baby, such as getting regular prenatal checkups, reducing stress, not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke, not drinking alcoholic beverages and not using drugs. He said taking a folic acid supplement daily before and during pregnancy has shown to be effective in preventing pre-term births.