SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Wendy Caceres smiled as two salon workers doted over her hair and makeup. It was a momentary break from the last two-and-a-half months when she's been worried about many things, least of all herself.
On August 15, Caceres gave birth to her son Santino at 29 weeks. He's been in the NICU at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital ever since.
"Very traumatizing, honestly," Caceres said over the hum of hair dryers at Robert Cromeans Salon downtown.
"I don't take time for myself really," she said. "It's really cool they did this, honestly."
Caceres was one of eight NICU moms treated to a hair and makeup makeover at the salon Monday during an event organized by March of Dimes.
The event came on the same day the March of Dimes released a report card showing the premature birth rate in the U.S. rose for the fourth straight year to 10.02 percent.
Preterm birth rates worsened in 30 states. California fared better than the national average. In San Diego County, the rate actually improved year-over-year to 8.4 percent.
It's still largely a mystery why some women deliver early. Still, March of Dimes says there are several known risk factors, including poverty, lack of health insurance, and inadequacy of prenatal care.
The March of Dimes issued a number of policy recommendations nationally, including:
- Expanding group prenatal care.
- Ensuring that women have access to public health insurance programs.
- Expanding Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to improve maternal and infant health.
- Making sure all women have Medicaid coverage for at least one year postpartum.
To read the full report, click here.