NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - World Prematurity Day, which seeks to raise awareness and prevention, is Sunday, Nov. 17.
To mark the day, the Empire State Building will be illuminated in the March of Dimes color purple.
As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, the organization's efforts to reduce pre-term births have been paying off.
Sunday Marks March Of Dimes' World Prematurity Day
Maria Bedryk's twin girls arrived 10 weeks prematurely and spent those first two and a half months in the neonatal intensive care unit.
"There is no parent that should ever have to walk down that path. There is nothing more frightening," Bedryk told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond. "Every day is like being on a roller coaster but I feel like with twins, it is like being on a roller coaster blindfolded and you have no idea when to grab on tight and when to let go and enjoy the ride."
The girls just turned 1 and are doing well.
Promising news came earlier this month when the March of Dimes announced the pre-term birth rate of 11.5 percent, a fifteen-year low.
Currently, one in nine babies born in the United States are premature. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born to soon each year, according to the organization.
Dr. Iffath Hoskins manages safety and quality for expectant moms at NYU Langone Medical Center and said the preemie rate has been steadily decreasing.
"We're not quite where we want to be but the direction of the arrow is going in the right direction," Dr. Hoskins told Diamond. "It's a global effort which combines the patient and the provider."
Dr. Hoskins said doctors no longer schedule elective cesarean sections before 37 weeks because many of those babies ended up in the NICU.
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