By Carter Higgins, blackdoctor.org
Cleveland Cavaliers star J.R. Smith and his wife Jewel are asking for prayers after revealing over the weekend that their baby daughter, Dakota, was born five months early and weighs just one pound.
In a video posted on the platform Uninterrupted on Saturday, Smith and his wife, Jewel Harris, said that their daughter Dakota weighed just 1 pound when she was born earlier this month.
“We decided to share with the world what’s been going on with our family the past five days,” Jewel said in a video posted Jan. 7. “We know a lot of you guys congratulated us on the expectancy of our little baby girl, but we had her five months early.”
“We know we’re not the only family going through this, who has been through this or will ever go through it,” Harris said in the video. “That’s why we decided to share what we’re going through with you guys. Please keep us in your prayers.”
And they are right. Last year, “Baby Buns” Kaleb, son of Arkell and Dana Graves, took hold of the heart of a nation and is still living after being born 4 months early. While he is still not out of the woods, he is making great progress.
The Smith’s announcement spotlights the rare but difficult occurrence of extremely preterm births, or births at less than 28 weeks of completed pregnancy.
The couple’s daughter being born so prematurely is rare in the U.S., with an estimated 1 in 10 infants born prematurely and just a fraction of those births happening “extremely” preterm.
The infant mortality rate among black infants is 2.4 times higher than that of white infants, primarily due to
preterm birth. In the United States, the risk of preterm birth for Non-Hispanic black women is approximately
1.5 times the rate seen in white women.
Preterm birth is when a baby is born before 37 complete weeks of pregnancy. Preterm infants who live beyond the first year may suffer more because it is also the leading cause of severe neurologic disability, including cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. In addition to the physical and emotional impact resulting from preterm births,