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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

On World Prematurity Day, rise in birth of premature babies calls for increased care, say Pune docs

World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17 to bring attention to the extra care these babies need

pune Updated: Nov 17, 2019 16:24 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Premature babies need immediate care after birth to prevent complications especially in the golden hour, which is the first 60 minutes after birth. (Representational image)
Premature babies need immediate care after birth to prevent complications especially in the golden hour, which is the first 60 minutes after birth. (Representational image)(iStockphoto)
         

Premature babies need immediate care after birth to prevent complications especially in the golden hour, which is the first 60 minutes after birth. City doctors say proper care can help these babies lead a healthy life.

Babies born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy are termed as premature babies.

World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17 to bring attention to the extra care these babies need. Doctors in the city believe that there has been an increase in the number of premature babies being born for which multiple reasons are cited including, older mothers, fertility drugs, early inductions, cesarean sections, malaria, HIV and high adolescent pregnancy.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) report ‘Born too soon’, of the 15 million babies in the world, more than one in ten are born preterm and as many as 75 per cent of these babies die shortly after birth, many others suffer from lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability.

Dr Dipti Shah, consulting paediatrician, Apollo hospital, said, “It is not that the problem of prematurity is only confined to poor income countries, even the US is one among the top ten countries with the highest rate of premature babies being born.”

However, with the right care, these babies can live a healthy, long life. Dr Tushar Parikh DM, (neonatology) from Motherhood Hospital, says a premature baby should be cared for in Neonatal Intensive Care (NIC) units as it has unique medical requirements. He adds, “These babies need immediate care after birth to prevent complications especially in the golden hour, which the first 60 minutes after the baby is born.”

Parikh says during this time, the primary focus should be to establish the breathing of the child and provide the correct type of respiratory support. He adds, “Often these premature babies need resuscitation at the time of delivery. The golden hour care includes neonatal resuscitation, along with post-resuscitation care. Transport of these babies to neonatal intensive care could be a major task as these babies are more fragile and at risk of developing major complications during this phase. Ambulance for the transport of preterm baby is different from the adult ambulance. It should contain a baby incubator and all the gadgets required for neonatal ventilator care and monitoring.”

Premature birth complications include low birth weight (new-borns weighing less than 2,500 grammes at birth), due to prematurity and/or restricted growth in utero, is also a major contributor of new-born and child deaths, as well as disability and non-communicable diseases globally.

The family also plays a crucial role here, says Dr Parikh, as the baby may stay in the hospital longer and so emotional support to the mother is necessary. Dr Parikh said, “It has been observed in the last 10 years that the number of urban women becoming first time pregnant in their late 30s and 40s is increasing. Many of them have to resort to IVF techniques. They have a higher chance of delivering a premature baby.”

Caring for premature babies

-Babies born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy are termed as premature babies.

-According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) report ‘Born too soon’, of the 15 million babies in the world, more than 1 in 10 are born preterm and as many as 75% of these babies die shortly after birth, many others suffer from lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability.

-These babies need immediate care after birth to prevent complications especially in the golden hour, which is the first 60 minutes after birth.

-Transport of these babies to neonatal intensive care units could be a major task as these babies are more fragile and at risk of developing major complications during this phase. Ambulance for the transport of preterm baby is different from the adult ambulance.