Born too soon: 5 shocking facts about premature deliveries

On World Prematurity Day, we spoke to Dr Prashanth Gowda to better understand some facts about premature deliveries in India

You may know that earlier this year, producer Karan Johar became a proud first-time dad. But he couldn't experience the joys of fatherhood till his premature twins came home after two long months of being kept at the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU).

It was a tough situation for him, just as it is for most couples who became parents to premature babies, whose numbers are on an alarming rise.

"In the last two years, premature births have increased by 10-15 percent due to advancement in assisted reproduction technologies. In India out of 2.7 crore babies born every year, 35 lakh babies born are premature," shared Dr Prashanth Gowda, consultant neonatologist and paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru. 

5 facts about premature deliveries you must know

Dr Gowda spoke exclusively to us on the occasion of World Prematurity Day to understand some startling facts about premature deliveries in India. These include reasons for premature deliveries as well as issues post the delivery.

#1 Age is an important factor

Age is a very important factor which affects the fertility of women.

"As the age increases, the complication in the pregnancy also increases. In urban setting 30 -35 has become the common age for conception these days. According to various studies, the fertility and the prospects of contraception decline as women cross 30. Due to sedentary and stress filled lifestyles, even the woman’s fertile period has shrunk and hence it may lead to risks in pregnancy," explains Dr Gowda. 

#2 Bad lifestyle habits

In addition, he says that habits like smoking and drinking can cause placental infections, which can trigger hypertension.

"Work pressure, stress are also increasing the hypertension, diabetes cases at the younger age. This can lead to premature delivery. Bad food habits, not eating regularly, eating carbohydrate rich food are also making it worse by increasing anemia in women," he says. 

premature deliveries

#3 Saving a premature can be difficult

Another important issue in case of premature deliveries is saving the premie.

"Babies born after 26 weeks can be resuscitated and have a 44 percent rate of survival. Doctors can save the baby which is born after 24 weeks. Otherwise in most of the cases they are stillborn," he shares.

#4 Mother's health can be in danger

As for the health of the new mother post her premature delivery, Dr Gowda says it often leads to shock.

"During premature delivery, the mother goes into a state of shock and the vital mother and baby touch is delayed. These again create problems both in baby and mother," he shares. 

#5 Cost of treatment is high

Dr Gowda also warns that keeping a baby in the NICU can be quite expensive as well.

"When it comes to financial aspects, parents need to spend a lot on the treatment of premature babies to keep them safe. Also premature babies are prone to infections and their immunity level is low," he says.

Sometimes, the cost can lead upto 3 lakh based on the health and needs of the baby. For instance, depending on the health issue your, he or she may be kept in the NICU for more than a normal stipulated time.

At the NICU, he may be attached primary equipments such as monitors and alarms that respond to the baby's needs and these are all expensive equipments.

In addition, your premie will be surrounded by specialised attendants who care for the babies in the NICU and these include neonatal nurse practitioner, nurses on shifts, a neonatologist, a respiratory therapist and a nutritionist among others. Their services are also included in the total cost.

But, even though there are issues with premature deliveries, remember that with medical advancements, saving and caring for a premature baby has become easy. However as expecting parents, couples must be aware of these facts to better understand premature deliveries.

Read: All you should know about taking care of your premature baby

(All images courtesy: Dreamstimes)