Working Together for Healthier Babies
Every year, over half of a million babies are born prematurely in the United States. March of Dimes estimates that preterm births cost employers more than $12 billion in excess health care costs. Premature birth can lead to serious life-long challenges – such as asthma, blindness, and developmental disabilities. These challenges often affect babies throughout their lives impacting their education and ability to work.
For Tricia Bratton, FedEx Services Marketing Advisor, the issue of prematurity prevention is highly important and extremely personal as she has first-hand experience on the roller coaster ride that having premature twins at 25 weeks creates. Today, Tricia’s twins are healthy, happy 13 year olds though they were born weighing only 1 lb. 13 oz. and 1lb. 12 oz. Due to their short gestational period, they faced a gamut of health conditions including retinopathy, feeding intolerance, demineralization of their bones, and underdevelopment of their central nervous system.
“The first 24 hours after their births were most critical. Their skin was particularly fragile, you could almost see through it,” shares Tricia. The twins spent 10 weeks after birth in the neo-natal intensive care unit and were placed on portable heart monitors upon release from the hospital. “FedEx’s maternal and newborn coverage was amazing to say the least. And the clinical personnel worked tirelessly, from the moment that my doctor sent me to the hospital to the care I received during my stay, to service me and my family during this emotional situation,” explains Tricia.
Not all cases are like Tricia’s - many pre-mature births are preventable and others can be lessened by following clinical recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that up to 70 percent of birth defects could be prevented if all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Other focus areas for prematurity prevention include immunizations, preconception care and prenatal services as well as efforts to combat smoking, the consumption of alcohol, or drug use during pregnancy.
FedEx Helps Expecting Moms Choose Well
FedEx offers the following programs to assist employees in having full-term pregnancies, healthy deliveries and healthy babies:[i]
Resources for both maternity and newborn care
The FedEx Medical Plan provides guidelines and information for healthy pregnancies and babies, access to a 24-Hour nurse line and the extra support of a case manager for women who have a high-risk pregnancy. FedEx Medical Plan participants also have access to FREE informational kits from Medical Decision Support (MDS) on:
- Childbirth Delivery Options
- Children’s Developmental Milestones
- High Risk Pregnancy
If you are a FedEx Medical Plan participant, you can visit www.mymedicaldecisionsupport.com or contact 1.888.644.1640 for more information.
Nieika Parks, MHA, PHD is an Enterprise, Health and Wellness Coordinator for FedEx Services Corporation.
[i] Eligible employees for the benefits described in this article include any U.S.-based or domestic employees of a FedEx company (except collectively bargained pilots) that is a participating employer in the FedEx Corporation Group Health Plan (the “Plan”) who has satisfied the eligibility requirements for that Plan. For local HMO, Kaiser, and HMSA participants, Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment must be coordinated through your HMO, Kaiser, or HMSA.