Sorority Wraps up Prematurity Awareness Month

Mrs. Jasmyn Butler-Jones with son

By Josetta Arnold (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Beta Alpha Zeta Chapter) – Wrapping up November is Prematurity Awareness Month with a reminder to the Black community that early detection will benefit mothers to seek more education and awareness concerning the causes and consequences of premature births.  Prematurity is defined as any birth before 37 weeks.

According to the March of Dimes, the number one global cause of death in children under five years old is premature births. When infants are born prematurely, they can face health challenges affecting their brain, lungs, hearing or vision. Risk factors include being African-American, a teen mother, a woman over 35, and coming from a low-income background. When we speak in general terms about premature babies, we tend to dismiss the variety of premature births that occur. A late preterm baby is born sometime between 34 and 37 weeks of a pregnancy. An actual preemie is a still developing infant born just under 32 weeks of gestation.
This is not always the case. Mrs. Jasmyn Butler-Jones is married, college educated, working mother who experienced two premature births. Her last one resulted in a baby boy born at 35 weeks.  Her situation was caused by a medical condition known as an incompetent cervix. Since his birth he has had two hospital stays related to asthma, but other than that he is a healthy , energetic, boy.

For 47 years, the International Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the National March

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Beta Alpha Zeta Chapter Sorority Members Premature Awareness Vigil

of Dimes have partnered to reduce the incidence of premature birth through the Stork’s Nest. The local Beta Alpha Zeta chapter, Inc. operates the Stork’s Nest of Jacksonville. This year the theme was Purple Reign highlighting the prematurity shades of purple. Purple for a healthy baby, light purple a premature birth and white for mother who may have lost a baby to prematurity.

The local Beta Alpha Zeta, Inc. chapter sponsors the Stork’s Nest of Jacksonville to educate and support pregnant women with limited income.  Due to COVID19, interested pregnant women may participate via Zoom for both education, emotional support, and incentive gift cards. Community, social and civic groups desiring more information or education about the causes of prematurity in the Black Community. For more info contact the Stork’s Nest of Jacksonville, via phone: 904-203-8993, the web: or email by email at:

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