Prematurity Awareness Month
Of the 15 million premature babies born every year around the world, one million will die. While a frightening and disheartening statistic, spreading awareness about premature birth can gradually reduce this number.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month with 17th November marking World Prematurity Day. The aim of the Prematurity campaign is to focus the world’s attention on premature birth and its adverse effects on a child’s life.
About Premature Birth
Important growth and development of a baby occur throughout the course of a pregnancy, including the final months and weeks. Premature or preterm birth is when a baby is born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed; normal pregnancies last 40 weeks.
Risks of delivering a “preemie” baby
Premature birth can be dangerous for both mother and child because it is a departure from the normal cycle of pregnancy. When babies are born prematurely, it means that they have not had time to develop fully, resulting in severe health problems. The earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of death or serious disability.
Premature babies who survive may have to live with respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and digestive problems. Long-term problems may include developmental delay and lower performance in school.
For mothers, premature birth is very stressful and at times dangerous too. They may experience heavy bleeding, and in cases where a C-section is required the mother is at risk of infections and other surgery related complications.
With premature birth proving to be hazardous, doctors and mothers usually take a number of steps to avoid or delay it, including complete bed rest. The goal is to keep the baby or babies in utero for as long as possible. The rule of thumb is that every day in the womb cuts two days off in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Risk factors leading to Premature Birth
While there are still some unexplained reasons that lead to preterm birth, medical professionals are trying to narrow what are called risk factors that can increase the chance of a woman having a preterm birth. Below are some risk factors based on various demographic indicators and behaviours:
- Teenage pregnancies
- Pregnancies after 35 years
- Low socioeconomic lifestyle
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- High or low BMI (Body Mass Index)
Medical and pregnancy characteristics
- Being depressed or over stressed
- Short time between pregnancies
- Carrying more than one baby at a time
- Having high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, thyroid, obesity
- Fertility treatments
- Infection in the uterus
Preventing premature labour
Although there are some risk factors that you cannot change, there are a few ways in which you can reduce the chances of having a premature birth:
- Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs
- Maintain a healthy amount of weight gain throughout your pregnancy
- Ensure a nutritious and well balanced diet. Nutrition and optimal prenatal care are especially important if you are under age 17, over 35, or carrying twins or more
- Minimize the stress in your life whenever possible with relaxation techniques, exercise, nutrition, and rest
- Avoid infections as much as possible
- If you have a history of premature birth caused by abnormalities in your uterus, these abnormalities can be corrected with surgery
- Premature delivery due to incompetent cervix can be reduced with a surgical procedure that closes the cervix from the 14th week of pregnancy until the ninth month
Opt for a healthy delivery with Euromed
Pregnancy is a sensitive time in a woman’s life that requires sensitive care. Known for her gentle manner and expert knowledge on all aspects of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Tahira Sadigova is one of the best gynaecologists in Dubai. Given her international experience and long-standing work in the UAE, it’s no wonder Dr. Tahira is in great demand among the UAE’s female population.
At Euromed, our team work hard to provide the best pre and post natal care for mothers and their newborns, securing a healthy future for our families.
Book an appointment with us today!