KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 4/17/11, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Alan Bedrick, MD, pediatrician and UA College of Medicine professor, and Randy McDonald, Chair, 2011 March of Dimes March for Babies. 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. He says the March of Dimes funds research aimed at identifying how gene-environment interactions play a role in preterm birth. He says it is hoped that, through research, research will lead to a better understanding of how certain factors increase a woman's risk of having preterm labor or birth. He says most women have “no clue” that there might be a problem until later on in the pregnancy.

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 says good nutrition and taking vitamins daily before and during pregnancy has shown to be effective in preventing pre-term births. 

McDonald says 85-percent of the funds raised at the annual Tucson march for  Babies Walk remain in Arizona and go directly to support research. He said this year’s walk is April 30 at U of A Mall.  He says the goal this year is $312,000, just above what was raised last year.