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Campaign to reduce premature babies

NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Latin pop star Thalia has joined with the March of Dimes to educate U.S. women on what they can do to reduce their chances of having a premature baby.

"I'm not pregnant, but I want my nine months someday," Thalia says in a new March of Dimes national public service ad.

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The campaign urges women to take action before pregnancy by talking to their healthcare provider to assess their risk for having a premature baby.

Prematurity -- birth before 37 weeks gestation -- is the nation's leading cause of death in the first month of life, and many who survive have serious health problems such as cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Premature birth affects 1 of every 8 babies, including 1 in 8 Hispanic babies in the United States.

"Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic minority group in this country and more Hispanic babies are being born prematurely each year," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "But there are certain steps that women can take to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby."

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