September 13, 2005 at 9:24 PM CDT - Updated July 26 at 5:33 PM
March of Dimes Helps Hurricane Victims By: Wendy Ray
We've seen how Hurricane Katrina is affecting it's victims financially, emotionally, and physically, b
ut there are countless unborn children that may also be affected weeks after the devastation. The March of Dimes is doing whatever it can to make sure hurricane victims, who are also expectant mothers get the care they need to deliver a healthy baby.
Amanda Mills, director of program services for the March of Dimes says, "I think immediately everyone was looking to make sure people have shelter." Now that many hurricane evacuees have shelter, the focus is shifting to another issue pregnant victims who need prenatal care. Mills says the organization is expecting a huge increase in the number of premature births. "Of course stress is a big factor for premature births, lack of prenatal care is going to be an issue and another factor for premature birth," she says.
Mills points out the number of premature births among African Americans is 10 percent higher than the rest of the population under normal circumstances. She expects it to become an even bigger issue now. Gentel Allen is just one of the many pregnant women the March of Dimes is worried about. "My daughter, my mother, and I are all sick and I don't want to have my baby in this shelter," she says.
Now Mills says the organization is pulling together its resources to see where they're needed. She adds this will be a long term issue, making sure hurricane moms get the care they need before and after they have their baby. "We are getting the information out to pregnant women or women who may become pregnant. They're going to have stress so we're making sure we're in there with educational programs, and also let them know about premature labor along with the signs and symptoms," Mills says.
The March of Dimes is collecting diapers, formula, Pedialyte, baby wipes, and bottles. I
f you would like to help, you can drop those items off at Capaha Bank.