3-Minute Interview: Dr. Sam Hawgood 

Dr. Sam Hawgood, the dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and the W. H. and Marie Wattis Distinguished Chair of Pediatrics will serve as chair of March for Babies in San Francisco. The 40th annual march will take place on April 24 at Fort Mason.

What is the March of Dimes?
It’s a national organization that raises money for prevention of birth defects and prevention of early childbirth. The goal is to try to get as many pregnancies to full term as possible.

What will raising money do? Last year, the March of Dimes invested $3 million in grants for research in the Bay Area. It supports educators and outreach workers to go to smaller cities, to provide education to families or health care workers, and it supports advocacy.

How often does it happen?
In California, 10.7 percent of babies are born before 37 weeks. In the U.S. it’s 12.7 percent, which is very high. There are some very legitimate reasons to have a baby be born early, but those are relatively rare.

What’s the best form of prevention? I think No. 1 is to make sure that the mother gets early and complete prenatal care. Avoid smoking, and I know it’s a naïve statement, but avoid stress.

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Kamala Kelkar

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