Bangalore: India has the highest number of preterm babies being born and the Infant Mortality Rate in the country is 40 per 1,000 live births. In 2015, for the first time, the complications of preterm birth outranked all other causes as the world’s number one killer of young children. Of the estimated 6.3 million deaths of children under the age of 5 in 2013, complications from preterm births accounted for nearly 1.1 million deaths
In the above background, the Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore has launched a Preterm Parent Support Group called ‘Prepare’ in India. This group will provide emotional support to new parents who have delivered a preemie baby, by helping them clear their doubts, answering their queries, support them through the delicate phase of their life. This launch also marked the “World Prematurity Day” on November 17th and creates awareness on the rising numbers of premature births.
Talking about the NICU facilities at Motherhood, Dr Prashanth Gowda, Consultant, Neonatologist and Pediatrician, said, “Treating preterm babies is a teamwork with highly skilled neonatologists supported by skilled nursing staff and advanced technology. Our team at Motherhood has handled some of the most challenging prematurely born, low birth-weight neonates and babies with sever and complex conditions through effective interventions and timely care. We are constantly striving to provide the best care to high-risk newborns through its state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled team of neonatologists.”
“When I had my baby at the 30th Week, way before the due date, I was paranoid and depressed and didn’t know how to handle the whole situation and even to hold such a tiny baby properly. The fact that my baby is in the NICU with all that wires and tubes attached to her tiny body killed me every time I went to NICU to visit her. On our third day, a mother brought in her daughter who had spent time in the NICU and I asked her, ‘How did you get through months? I can’t even get through this day’. It helped so much to talk to her and gave me confidence to see her little toddler healthy and active”, said Ashwini, one of the parents from the support group.
A premature birth is when a baby is born alive before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Premature babies generally weigh less than 2,500 grams.
Although there are a few online forums in our country to support the NICU parents, this is the first time a hospital has taken the initiative to provide necessary information and support to the stressful parents of the premature babies.
Talking on the launch, Dr Vikas Satwik, Consultant, Neonatologist and Pediatrician at Motherhood Hospital, said, “Parents who have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are under a lot of stress. And while doctors and nurses are monitoring their child 24/7, it makes a lot of difference and boost the confidence of the parents with premature babies by speaking to the parents who have gone through the similar experience and on how they overcame the emotional and physical challenges.”
After the antenatal and post-natal counselling, parents of premature newborns are extended emotional and psychological support that helps them be strong and take better care of their newborn. Support is given in terms of counselling, videos and one-on-one interactions with qualified personnel. The initiative here is aimed at bringing the parents together to interact and share their experiences and eventually create a self-sufficient support network amongst them.