World Prematurity Day

November 17th, 2020 | 3 min read

World Prematurity Day is observed on 17th November of each year to raise the awareness of preterm birth and the concerns related to preterm babies and their families. Premature birth is the major cause of death in children under five years of age. Let’s discuss a few important questions related to Preterm deliveries.   

The global theme for World Prematurity Day 2020 is: Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future

1. What is preterm baby?

Babies who are born before completion of 37 weeks of gestation are called Preterm babies 

2. Why does preterm birth happen?

Preterm birth occurs for a variety of reasons. Most preterm births happen spontaneously. Common causes of preterm birth include multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; however, sometimes no causes are also identified.

3. Can early labour be prevented?

Preterm birth can’t always be prevented. But moms-to-be can help lower their chances of going into labour too soon. Here’s the best advice:

  • Check with your doctor/consultant early and regularly in your pregnancy for prenatal care
  • Take care of your health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or depression
  • Eat a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods
  • Protect yourself from infections 
  • Reduce stress in your life

4. Why does a preterm baby need special care?

Premature babies need an extra help while their bodies catch while growing and developing, which they missed in the womb (uterus). They are small and their skin, lungs, intestine for that matter all organs are not fully developed or functional as the good weight term babies. They are kept in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for the care.

5. What is NICU? 

A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a hospital intensive care unit that specialises in looking after premature and sick newborn babies. NICUs have specialist doctors (Neonatologists), nurses, other professionals and equipments (incubators, warmers, ventilators etc.) to take care of premature and sick babies.

6. How long the babies are kept in NICU?

Most of these babies go to the NICU within 24 hours of birth. The duration of the stay depends on their health condition. Some babies stay only a few hours or days; others stay for weeks or months. The smaller the baby the longer will be the stay. For example, 1kg baby might need to stay for 6 to 8 weeks in NICU.

7. Do all the preterm babies survive?

Babies born between 30 and 32 weeks, while still considered preterm, have at least a 99% chance of survival. Lesser the weight, more the prematurity the risk will be more.

8. Can premature babies live a normal life? 

With modern medicine and new technologies, babies are often able to survive when born earlier during the pregnancy and most of the premature babies go on to live normal healthy lives. Only very few will have long-term health problems.

9. How to take care of preterm babies at home?

Once they are discharged from NICU they have to be kept warm including KMC (Kangaroo Mother Care), clean, prevent infections (hand washing and sanitisation), feeding at regular intervals and giving supplements as per the doctor’s advice. ROP eye screening examination is very important which should not be missed.    

Dr K Seshagiri
MD, DM
Chief Neonatologist
Giggles by OMNI RK

Dr M Srinivasa Reddy
MD, DM
Consultant Neonatologist
Giggles by OMNI RK