WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The March of Dimes' March for Babies walk this year has a little more motivation behind it, because of a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The CDC just released some updated statistics that the maternal mortality rate increased by over 89% since 2018," March of Dimes spokesperson Nicole Deleon said.
According to an article published on the CDC's website in March, "In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic, Black women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women."
"It's a result of so many different factors, their socio-economic factors, the pandemic—there's a huge disparity in racial equality and racial equity of getting proper health care," Deleon said. "We've seen black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications."
The March of Dimes' mission is to prevent maternal health risks and deaths, stopping preterm births and infant death and closing the health equity gap.
On April 22, the organization will be hosting a fundraiser walk to help their efforts at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and the walk starts at 8 a.m.
Portions of the money raised will go to programs in South Florida.
"We're doing local implicit bias training where we're training women to become birthing doulas to help in areas that have high preterm labor rates to try to help be supportive in that perspective," Deleon. "We have a NICU Family Support Program, sponsored by March of Dimes at Broward Health down in Fort Lauderdale. We're really trying to do our part here locally to make sure that moms and babies are healthy."
At the free family-friendly walk there are events for all ages—rock painting, stroller decorating, postcards for parents, lawn games, and the Superhero Sprint (kids get purple capes).
There are four areas with additional activities:
- Honor Area - This is a space to create a butterfly to honor a lost loved one
- Unite Area - Learn about March of Dimes advocacy and mission efforts.
- Care Area - This booth will feature a self-guided journey for participants to better understand the issues moms and babies sometimes encounter.
- CONNECT - This booth is about connecting- with your loved ones, with new friends, or people who have gone through something similar to you.
Deleon said that premature births happen more than you think.
"Over 22,000 babies will be wearing those preemie diapers this year in Florida alone," Deleon said.