Passport partners with March of Dimes to reduce preterm birth rate, improve maternal & newborn health

Passport logoFor the fourth consecutive year, Passport Health Plan is partnering with March of Dimes to address an ongoing problem that impacts one in 10 babies in Kentucky: preterm birth.

Preterm birth is the number one cause of infant mortality and a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children.

This spring and fall, Kentuckians across the state are invited to participate in their local “March for Babies” event to raise money for programs that help Kentucky mothers have healthy, full-term pregnancies and for research to find causes and preventions for preterm births. You can find your local March for Babies and register online at

“Kentucky’s preterm birth rate has been trending downward in recent years, but there is still significant room for improvement,” said Mark B. Carter, Passport Health Plan CEO. “Through our work with March of Dimes, Passport Health Plan hopes to give each baby born in Kentucky the healthy start he or she deserves.”

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March of Dimes helps moms ‘Make a PACT’ to prevent preterm births

Insider Louisville LogoThe Greater Kentucky chapter of the March of Dimes is making some great progress in reducing the number of preterm births around the Commonwealth, but there is still much work to do, according to a Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville.

Since 2010, the number of preterm births in Kentucky has gone down each year, from 13.7 percent in 2010 to 12.6 percent in 2013, according to the latest information from the March of Dimes. Overall infant mortality rates dropped from 7.2 percent in 2012 to 6.4 percent in 2013, while Jefferson County saw a much greater decrease, as the rate of infant mortality dropped from 8.2 percent in 2012 to 4.9 percent in 2013.

That’s the good news. But it’s not all good news, and that’s why the March of Dimes continues to work hard to prevent preterm births and improve the fate of all babies and moms. And through its mission of preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality, progress continues to be made here in Kentucky, according to Leslie Bailey, executive director of the Greater Kentucky chapter of the March of Dimes.

In January, the chapter participated in March of Dimes National Birth Defects Prevention Month, a campaign that encourages expectant mothers to adopt healthy habits and lifestyle choices. It teamed with the Kentucky Department of Public Health to raise awareness of the issue of birth defects, which affects about 7,000 babies born in Kentucky annually, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The campaign, called ”Make a PACT for Prevention”, focuses on steps women should take to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. PACT stands for “Plan, Avoid, Choose, Talk.”

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Passport sponsors Prematurity Awareness Month to help reduce the number of babies born too soon

March of Dimes Super BabyBecause premature birth is the leading cause of death during the first month life, Passport is joining with the March of Dimes to sponsor Prematurity Awareness Month in November. By working together and raising awareness, we can help reduce the number of babies who are born prematurely.

With about 1 in every 7 babies in Kentucky born before 37 weeks gestation (higher than a national average of about 1 in 10), that accounts for about one preterm birth every hour. The U.S. spends more than $26 billion each year for health care, special education, and lost productivity related to premature birth. It causes hearing loss, cerebral palsy, blindness and intellectual disabilities.

“At Passport, we’ve made it a priority to focus on improving birth outcomes and preventing pre-term births,” said Passport CEO Mark Carter. “I’m proud to support the March of Dimes for their ongoing commitment to healthy babies and healthy families.”

Also, Passport will be hosting a special Lantern Lighting event on Tuesday, November 17, in tribute to babies who were born too soon. Please see and share the invitation here for more details.