Very recently, neonatologist Dr. Charleta Guillory speaks about her studies and experience with ‘premies’. Here, we are talking about premature babies. She also speaks about the health implications and public health measures affecting these cute babies, who have arrived before time. If one goes by records, almost 10% of babies in the U.S. are born prematurely. There are about 15 million premature births worldwide. Today, with advancements in medical technology, premature babies have a great chance at life. However, it is also the leading cause of death amongst children till 5 years.
The Doctor is an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Other titles include being the Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Public Health Program at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Premature Babies – Give The Love And Care They Deserve.
Both are in Houston. Dr. Charleta Guillory has been in charge of level 4 of NICU. Level 4 NICUs provide the best level of care and treatment for babies who are born before 32 weeks. Such babies often weigh less than 1,500 gms.
Background Information On Premature Births
Dr. Charleta Guillory, in her recent interview, stated that there are certain background and birth risks related to premature babies. Moreover, the care procedure has also changed over the years and especially in the pandemic. She also reveals how families are coping during the pandemic. The doctor also discussed the long-term outlook and precautions parents have to take.
Excerpts from the session are here:
The meaning of prematurity needs to be highlighted. And, that is what she did. For the uninitiated, the term ‘premature’, is used for babies generally who are born before 37 weeks. There are three categories of preterm births. They are late preterm (34-36 weeks 6 days), moderate preterm (32-33 weeks), and early preterm births born before 32 weeks. In 2019 alone, there was 1 preterm birth out of every 10 babies born in the U.S. This is a startling revelation. According to CDC, the rate of such births had decreased from 2007 to 2014. However, it saw an upward graph soon.
Risk Factors Associated With Premature Births
There are many risk factors for premature babies. It also includes sociodemographic and obstetric factors. The maternal reproductive factors are also at play here. The age of the mother and the rate of preterm birth are related. Those women who are below 16 years and above 35, stand a chance to give birth to premature babies. Maternal health is also taken into consideration. The diseases like anemia, hypertension, preeclampsia, cardio health, and respiratory health are also stark signals. Diabetes also leads to many risks. Maternal lifestyle is also another factor that is worth considering.
If the mother has a history of obesity, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse, then it can also affect the health of the babies. Other areas involve the cervical, uterine, placental health, size of the cervix, and bleeding issues. All these have repercussions on the health of the babies.
Multiple gestations also have an effect on the babies. Not to mention other factors like congenital anomalies, fetal infections, and fetal distress at birth.
Lack Of Prenatal Care
Another disturbing fact that has come to the fore, is a lack of prenatal care. More than 60% of African Americans don’t get prenatal care. Moreover, there are older moms who are at an increased risk of premature births. With assisted reproduction, triplets and twins cannot be ruled out. It also adds to the premature birth cases. For any healthy nation, the infant mortality rate needs to be the best. So, that is what needs to be stressed. Therefore, experts are the only help that these ‘little guys’, can get for survival.