Robert Bush 8:15 p.m., May 19
The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics indicates U.S. preterm births (defined as babies born at least three weeks early) declined to 12.3 percent in 2008, from 12.7 percent in 2007 and from 12.8 percent in 2006. In a report published this week by El Vigia, a Tijuana paper, Óscar Armenta Llanes of the neonatal intensive care unit at General Hospital of Tijuana reported 15-20% of births there are premature. The lack of prenatal care with a doctor, clinic, or hospital are indicated as the primary cause for preventable early births. It is important to have regular prenatal care as many expectant women contract diabetes during pregnancy or have infections, which can be easily treated to limit complications and risks to mothers and infants.
“Babies delivered at fewer weeks have a higher chance of survival with the right prenatal care,” said Sr. Llanes. Common risks for premature babies include respiratory problems, infections, intestinal malformations, and cardiac illnesses. The average survival rate for a baby of 30 weeks is 80% while there have been cases of babies who are born at only 24.5 weeks with the same survival rate of 80% because of adequate prenatal care.
Sr. Llanes appeals to women who know or who suspect they are pregnant to schedule an examination and learn more about a healthy pregnancy. An exam by a qualified doctor can detect at-risk pregnancies to reduce premature birth problems. General Hospital is composed of capable multidisciplinary teams of doctors who can provide adequate attention to prenatal and follow-up care after delivery.
Once delivered, parents are given recommendations for during the baby’s first two months including how it sleeps, breathes, eats and evacuates. If any irregularities are noted the baby should be seen soon by a doctor for an exam and accurate diagnosis. Breastfeeding is considered the best nutrition during the baby’s first 6 months. Avoid any smoking near the baby and continue periodic exams for the baby and mother.
Source: El Vigia