Small giants 7 January, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.
While preterm births tend to occur spontaneously, preventing ensuing complications and death begins with a healthy pregnancy.
Women should seek prenatal care as soon as they know they are pregnant. At a prenatal care appointment, women receive physical, psychological and medical orientation that will help prevent a difficult pregnancy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The earlier in a pregnancy that babies are born, the less prepared their bodies are for the outside world,” where health problems related to one of the following areas may develop:
Feeding: The coordination of the newborn’s suck and swallow reflex is not fully developed.
Breathing: If their lungs have not completely developed, babies may have difficulties breathing on their own, may experience apnea or may have issues breathing later on.
Infections: Because their immune systems are not fully developed, infections may become serious very easily, which is why they are at a greater risk of dying if they catch an infection.
Brain: Approximately one of every five babies that weigh less than 2 kgs when they are born experience bleeding in the brain or brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.
Staying warm: Preterm babies lose their body heat more easily, which is why careful attention is needed to maintain their body temperature and prevent hypothermia.
According to the WHO, all women should have at least 8 prenatal care visits with a healthcare professional when they are pregnant.