Ohio based research could curb premature child births

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - New research could be giving moms a better chance to have full term babies and give those babies a healthy start. Some of that research is coming from right here in Ohio.

It could eventually help moms who have kids prematurely like Perrysburg's Lisa Hawker. She’ll never forget one image when her twins were born at 27 weeks.

"In the first couple of days that they were born my husband could fit his wedding ring all the way up to my daughter's shoulder. It's something that unless you've seen it yourself it's pretty scary."

That's why for years she's supported the March of Dimes, which has supported research for an Ohio collaborative for prematurity . With the ultimate goal of ending prematurity.

"We've laid the foundation for a decade of work or two decades of work where we are on solid ground to move forward with where we know we're not going to run into dead ends," said Dr. Louis Muglia from Cincinnati Children's hospital.

Dr. Muglia has headed up so much of that research. His collaborative looked into the DNA of around 50,000 woman who had pre-term births.

"They were in pathways that now if we look back they make sense. But they were not where we were looking already," said Dr. Muglia.

"Seeing more of this type of collaborative effort to make what we're doing with the march of dimes even more impactful. We're going to be able to see really significant results we haven't seen in the past," said Hawker.

Hawker also works in the health insurance field. She says this research could lead to far reaching positive effects.

"Not only do we see this opportunity for children and for families but seeing that prematurity rates decrease has a significant impact on health care costs, has a significant impact on our current health care system, stress on our schools," said Hawker.

There are two ideas out of this research that will be tested further.
One is idea is the lack of the nutrient selenium in the diets of these women. Another idea is the development of a prepregnancy test for women who have premature births in the families or just worry about having one.