March of Dimes Launches Low Dose, Big Benefits™ Campaign to Combat Preeclampsia and Preterm Birth

11-Time Olympic Medalist & Co-Founder and President of Saysh, Allyson Felix, brings awareness to campaign through her personal experience with preeclampsia and preterm birth

Campaign expands upon the organization’s It Starts With Mom® platform alongside partners HCA Healthcare, Clearblue, Goldbug, The Honest Company, Philips Avent, and Sanofi

ARLINGTON, VA, May 1, 2024 – March of Dimes, the leading organization fighting for the health of all moms and babies, today announced the launch of Low Dose, Big Benefits, a multi-year campaign aimed at decreasing the adverse effects of preeclampsia and preterm birth through the use of low dose aspirin. The new campaign will feature US Olympian and Entrepreneur Allyson Felix as a brand ambassador and is part of the March of Dimes’ It Starts With Mom platform, which provides families with educational information and resources during their pregnancy journey. It Starts With Mom is generously supported by trusted partners, including HCA Healthcare, Clearblue, Goldbug, The Honest Company, Philips Avent, and Sanofi.

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, and Low Dose, Big Benefits aims to promote equal access to critical information for families and healthcare providers. Preeclampsia is a potentially fatal condition that causes a pregnant woman’s blood pressure to rise and can lead to preterm birth, heart disease, and other complications. A new survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of March of Dimes, revealed nearly 1 in 5 families had never heard of preeclampsia with the number rising to over 1 in 4 for Black families. The Harris Poll also found that only 2 in 10 families surveyed are extremely or very familiar with medical interventions, such as low dose aspirin that is available to reduce the risks of preeclampsia, making this campaign a critical step towards improving maternal and infant health outcomes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, like preeclampsia, are among the leading causes of deaths, particularly for Black moms. Preeclampsia affects 1 in 25 pregnancies in the US, with potential impacts on mom and baby during pregnancy, labor, and delivery and even across both of their lifetimes. Studies show that pregnant people at an increased risk for preeclampsia who take low dose aspirin may reduce their risk of preeclampsia by 15% and their risk of preterm birth by 20%.

“Preeclampsia is a key driver of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity,” said March of Dimes President and CEO Dr. Elizabeth Cherot. “We know that low dose aspirin can improve outcomes for both mom and baby and by equipping families and providers with the knowledge and tools they need to proactively manage pregnancies, I’m hopeful that we can make significant strides in reducing poor maternal and infant health outcomes and potentially save the lives of moms and babies.”

An ongoing key component of the campaign will be to educate healthcare professionals, including OB-GYNs, midwives, and pharmacists, on the benefits of low dose aspirin while also educating pregnant individuals, their families, and the public about the potential benefits of the intervention and tips on how to talk to their provider about low dose aspirin. To help with that effort, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has joined March of Dimes to help amplify the importance of Low Dose, Big Benefits among its 6,500 members that includes clinicians and researchers.

March of Dimes’ Quality Improvement team will work with doctors and clinical staff to implement a preeclampsia screening process for pregnant patients within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or at their first prenatal visit. While Low Dose, Big Benefits is a national campaign, March of Dimes will begin by focusing on California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas where the highest number of births occur.

"As a mom who had a preeclampsia diagnosis in my first pregnancy that led to an emergency Cesarean birth (also called C-section) at 32 weeks, I understand the importance of maternal health, particularly for women of color,” said Allyson Felix, record breaking Olympic athlete and March of Dimes Celebrity Advocate Council member. “During my second pregnancy, I knew I was already at high-risk of developing preeclampsia again and through conversations with my provider, who understood my fear and listened to me, we decided that low dose aspirin was the right intervention for me and my baby. My second labor and delivery were healthy, beautiful, and powerful, which is why partnering with March of Dimes to educate families about the benefits of low dose aspirin is deeply personal and important to me.”

Low Dose, Big Benefits is the culmination of March of Dimes’ legacy since 1938 of funding research to help millions of babies survive and thrive. From polio to preterm birth, the organization’s researchers have a long history of making critical discoveries to solve some of the biggest issues facing moms and babies. In 2011, they launched the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center (PRC) at Stanford, which was the nation's first research center dedicated to identifying the causes of preterm birth. The organization went on to create the Prematurity Campaign Roadmap in 2015 that identified eight interventions that could reduce the preterm birth rate and included low dose aspirin. In 2021, led by the faculty and staff at the California Maternal Quality Collaborative (CMQCC), the Stanford PRC invested in a low dose aspirin initiative and began to move it from research to implementation.

“We’re excited about the progress we’ve seen in the low dose aspirin campaign piloted by our partners in California,” said Dr. Emre Seli, March of Dimes Chief Scientific Advisor. “Building on our long history of health research and innovation combined with the overwhelming amount of data that shows how low dose aspirin can improve maternal and infant health outcomes, our Low Dose, Big Benefits campaign will expand awareness to families across the US and help turn the tide on the maternal and infant health crisis.”

March of Dimes will use their It Starts With Mom platform, supported by partners, to educate families and providers throughout the year on maternal health topics, including low dose aspirin, doulas, vaccines, maternal mental health, and the postpartum journey as part of the non-profit's mission to improve maternal and infant health outcomes for all moms and babies.

“We’re honored to be a longstanding partner of March of Dimes, from our 39-Week Initiative to reduce unnecessary C-sections and improve outcomes for moms and babies to our work to improve postpartum education,” said Amy Casseri, senior vice president at HCA Healthcare and March of Dimes National Board of Trustee member. “We know that education can make a significant impact on the care mothers and babies receive, and we are proud to be a part of this new campaign.”

March of Dimes invites families and providers to tune in this month and year-round across the organization’s platforms to learn more about maternal and infant health topics, including Low Dose, Big Benefits:

  • May 22 - It Starts With Mom Live featuring Dr. Cherot, Diana E. Ramos, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG, Surgeon General of California, Amanda Williams, MD, MPH, FACOG, Clinical Innovation Advisor, California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, and a mom who benefited from low dose aspirin.
  • May 29 - March of Dimes’ MODCAST in conversation with Dr. Brice Gaudillière, a researcher at the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University, who’ll highlight a new machine learning model that can, for the first time, identify exactly what elements of a woman’s biology cause her to have an elevated risk for preterm birth or preeclampsia.
  • May 30 – iHeart Media’s MEternal Podcast with Dr. Cherot and iHeart’s Kenya Gipson who will discuss how low dose aspirin can improve maternal health outcomes especially for moms and babies of color.

March of Dimes encourages everyone to get involved to help improve health outcomes for all families:

  • To learn more about future events and to access education resources, visit itstartswithmom.org
  • To learn more about Low Dose, Big Benefits, visit marchofdimes.org/lowdosebigbenefits
  • Partners can help the organization amplify Low Dose, Big Benefits by accessing the partner toolkit at marchofdimes.org/lowdosetoolkit
  • Families can text lowdose to 40789 to give a gift in support of March of Dimes to help ensure all moms-to-be get access to information and resources they need.

About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs, and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Since 1938, we’ve built a successful legacy to support every pregnant person and every family. Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and follow us with #marchofdimes and @marchofdimes.

Media Contact: Sarah Smith, [email protected], 202-774-0554