September is packed with celebration. Not only is September Neonatal Care Awareness Month, but it also includes Neonatal Nurses Day (September 14) and Growth Awareness Week.
Over the summer, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a commemorative resolution (S.Res. 489), introduced by Senator Kirk of Illinois, designating the third week of September 2014 as Growth Awareness Week.
As a mother to a preemie who was born weighing one pound eight ounces and diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), as well as Small Gestational Age (SGA), I am familiar with growth-related issues, particularly when it comes to poor fetal growth.
My preemie-toddler, Emily, had a difficult time growing in the womb. Week after week, I obtained ultrasounds which showed lack of growth in the womb. In the end, my geriatric placenta didn't want to feed Emily. Instead, the placenta wanted to take all of my nutrients and my developing daughter's nutrients for itself. Luckily, the doctors and nurses took good care of me and performed a c-section at the exact time one was needed. You can read more of my story here.
Emily is 20 months old now and weighs about 19 pounds. She is currently monitored, weighed, measured, and tracked on a monthly basis. Emily has a pediatrician, gastroenterologist, and even a nutritionist. She is offered food every 2.5 hours and takes appetite stimulants to help her grow.
We do not know exactly why she has trouble getting hungry, eating, or gaining weight, but I think a lot of it has to do with the IUGR diagnosis and being tube-fed for the bulk of her stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Although S. Res. 489 does not mention IUGR or SGA, it does broadly mention health conditions that cause growth issues. The resolution is brief (less than two pages) and can be read here. Below is a quick summary:
- Indicates that more than 600 serious diseases and health conditions cause growth failure, which may affect the overall health of a child.
- Mentions that children with growth failure are often undiagnosed.
- References the following MAGIC Foundation statistic: 48 percent of children in the U.S. who were evaluated for the two most common causes of growth failure were undiagnosed with growth failure.
- Explains the importance of early detection and diagnosis of growth failure.
- Points out that public awareness and education about growth failure is a public service.
- Designates the third week of September as Growth Awareness Week and indicates that the U.S. Senate supports its goals and ideals.