Menu Close
Get A Chance To Feature In Magazine By Submitting Your Interview Today!
Preterm Babies | Insights Care

“I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” – Charles Dickens

Indeed, babies are a gift to the world as Charles Dickens says it, “fresh from God”. A woman goes through a lot of changes when she is pregnant. Morning sickness, cramps, backache, and the list goes on. A woman not only needs to care for herself but for her fetus. The 9-month wait is certainly rewarding with the cute little bundle of joy. Though taking care of the newborn is difficult and messy, it is rewarded with their innocence. During pregnancy usually, there are common problems that a woman faces, but there is nothing to worry about.

Normally, a baby is delivered after 40 weeks from the date of conceiving. A baby needs 40 weeks in the womb to fully develop. The baby is healthy in this type of delivery. Sometimes, babies are born prematurely. Premature or preterm babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The birth of the baby takes place approximately 3 weeks before the estimated due date. Generally, this type of delivery is done when there is some kind of complications or medical problems either with the baby or the mother. Sooner the birth, higher is the risk of complications during the delivery and after the birth as well.

There are 4 types of preterm pregnancy:

  • Late preterm: Generally, this type of births occur between 34th and 36th week of pregnancy
  • Moderately preterm: Generally the birth occurs between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very preterm: The birth of the baby takes place before the 32nd week of pregnancy
  • Extremely preterm: This type of babies is born at or before the 25th week of pregnancy. Such births are extremely rare

According to the WHO, approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely. There are 5-8% of premature babies in 184 countries. It has been said to be the leading cause of the death of the babies under 5 years. These babies weigh around 1.5 kgs at birth. Three-quarters of the deaths can be prevented if suitable medications and proper care is taken. The death ratio is high in the underdeveloped countries where medications are not available and personal care is not possible. Researches show that in developed countries the death of such babies is prevented through current and cost-effective intervention. The immaturity of the organs and tissues of the baby is directly proportional to how early the baby is born. Such babies need more specialized medical treatment and nursing. The reason for premature birth is not very clear, but there are few things that can be considered.

Few reasons for premature birth or preterm baby:

  • The mother had a preterm birth before
  • The woman has high BP/hypertension during her pregnancy
  • The woman has diabetes
  • The mother has multiple babies (twins or more)
  • Women with poor dental care
  • The mother acquires UTI or other related infections
  • Smoking or taking drugs or consuming alcohol can drastically increase the chances

Premature birth is not in the hands of the mother or the doctor. But, there are few ways in which the risk can be reduced during pregnancy. The pregnant woman should constantly keep a check on her weight. She should not be overweight or underweight. It is important to consult the doctor if necessary. The parental checkup is essential even if everything looks fine. To be mother should get proper treatment if there are chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid. A pregnant woman should not smoke or consume alcohol or use drugs. This adversely affects the health condition of the fetus. She should avoid too much physical activity as well as taking any mental stress. Taking vaccinations can help protect her from various infections. She should try to avoid getting any kind of UTI. A woman should wait for at least 18 months after giving birth to conceiving the next child. There are few medications that can be given to the mother to delay the birth.

Most premature babies do not face many problems after birth. But, there are a few possible problems, which might lead to the death of the baby.

  • Immature lungs:

If the baby is born before 32 weeks, these babies require some help with breathing. Generally, it is said that medications like corticosteroids are used to normalize the breathing process. Sometimes, they may need the help of ventilation.

  • Bleeding in the brain:

This is also rare. Bleeding in the brain can cause intraventricular hemorrhage. Sometimes it could cause brain damage and lead to the death of the baby.

  • Infections:

Normally, babies are prone to various infections. But, in such conditions, the defense system of the babies are very weak and underdeveloped. They are readily attacked by numerous infections. This can be prevented if proper and immediate medications are provided to the baby.

Premature babies are generally kept in the incubator. Such babies are supervised constantly. The hospitals keep a regular check on the conditions of various organs. Diagnosis can be done beforehand with a few reliable techniques.

The cost of the types of equipment and other requirements related to premature birth is very high. It has a high impact on the healthcare industry. Some studies have shown that the cost of nursing a premature baby is specifically very high, comparatively. There is an urgent need to detect preterm birth that will reduce the rate of premature babies and related death rates.

Shambhavi Mhetre.