March for Babies coming up this weekend

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PHOENIX -- This weekend is the big March of Dimes for March for Babies. Several of the moms of 3TV, including Yetta Gibson and April Warnecke, will be there with their little ones.

On the eve of the walk, Renee Belcastro and little Reagan, who was born at just 25 weeks, joined Gibson and Robert Gutierrez, the medical directors of the NICU at St. Joseph's Hospital, to talk about what the March of Dimes does. The organizations goal is to help families have stronger, healthier babies.

To that end, Gutierrez explained why doctors want mothers to get to at least 39 weeks before delivering. That wasn't possibly for Belcastro. Reagan weighed a mere 1 pound 11 ounces when she was born 15 weeks early.

"She was so tiny, we couldn't even touch her at first," Belcastro recalled. "She was on the ventilator for six weeks. ... She came home, amazingly, on her due date. ... Three and a half months she was in the NICU -- long, long journey."

Now about 18 months old, Reagan, whose family is the March of Dimes ambassador family, is doing amazingly well.

"Premature birth is a very complicated thing to deal with ... because of the potential complications," Gutierrez explained. "The March of Dimes has been instrumental in ensuring that pregnancies are taken to at least 39 weeks to minimize the risks that premature babies are subjected to and complications they may encounter."

3TV Arizona's Family is proud to partner with the March of Dimes to March for Babies on Saturday, April 14 at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix.