Better Bed Rest (BBR)Vice-President Grace Morris attends congressional hearing on crisis of high number of preterm births and premature births.

On November 30, 2010, Better Bed Rest (BBR)Vice-President Grace Morris attended a congressional hearing sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard(D-CA) on Capitol Hill at the Cannon House Office Building. The March of Dimes, the Association of Woman’s Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the Nurse Practitioners in Woman’s Health (NPWH), and the National Council of Woman’s Organizations also joined in the sponsorship of the event. The panel of speakers included Angela Davids, founder of Columbia based Keep Em Cookin, one of Better Bed Rests partners in supporting moms on bed rest due to high risk pregnancy. Dr. Diane Ashton with the March of Dimes and Anne Santa-Domato, RNC, MSN of AWHONN.

The panel discussion focused on the crisis our country is facing with the high number of preterm births and the release of the March of Dimes report card on premature births. No state received an A or even a B. Seventeen states received a C with the remainder scoring Ds and Fs. Maryland received a D with a 13% rate of premature births. A preterm birth is defined as 37 weeks or less of gestation. During her moving presentation, Ms. Davids specifically spoke to the work being done by Better Bed Rest and BBR President Joanie Reisfeld with respect to her meeting with MD Senator Barbara Milkulski and introduced Ms. Morris to the audience.

To help address the preterm crisis, Rep. Roybal-Allard has introduced the Maximizing Optimal Maternal Services (MOMS) Act for the 21st century. This legislation would (1) establish the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Promotion of Optimal Maternity Outcomes; and (2) develop and implement a consumer education campaign to promote understanding and acceptance of evidence-based maternity practices and models of care for optimal maternity outcomes among women of childbearing ages and families of such women. This legislation has 42 co-sponsors.

The panelist also discussed the Preemie Act (Senate bill 3906) which has been re-introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and has only 3 co-sponsors. The bill is proposed to reduce preterm labor and delivery and the risk of pregnancy-related deaths and complications due to pregnancy, and to reduce infant mortality caused by prematurity. Better Bed Rest will track both these pieces of legislation as they make their way through committees.