Although India achieved a historic milestone with no new cases of polio, India still accounts for 24 percent of the world's 1.6 million annual deaths among children under five. This striking contrast begs the question: if polio can be defeated, why not early-childhood deaths?
People I don't know are whispering about me, pointing and staring. It is September 2008 and I am 34 weeks pregnant with triplets. I refuse to stay home; I will not miss Parents Night at my son's preschool. He is almost 4. And the fate of the three babies inside my belly is unknown.
Premature birth strikes many families -- over 500,000 every year in the U.S. alone. Thankfully most of these babies do survive. But many face problems throughout their lives with their hearing and vision, walking and cognitive skills.
Nearly one out of every six African-American babies in the United States is born premature. In Newark, New Jersey it's one in five. I am a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, and every day I see women who are at risk of delivering early.
For years we have known the consequences of a short cervix. Now, we have a medication proven to work. It's time for obstetricians to put the pieces together and make measurement of the cervical length part of our routine.
With the breakneck pace so many people live these days, there's a temptation to press for more certainty about exactly when baby arrives. But when it comes to giving birth, it's best in the vast majority of cases to follow a natural course.