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    “Too Little, Too Soon”

    “We held our daughter in our arms… we shed our tears, said goodbye and went home to tell our little boy that he wouldn’t have a sister.” —
    Doug, USA( The Global Action Report on preterm birth,2012)

    Often unexpected, every premature birth marks a stressful period for the parents and the baby. The journey takes a toll-medically, financially and emotionally.

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    Defining preterm birth

    Preterm birth is defined by WHO as all births before 37 completed weeks of gestation or fewer than 259 days since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period (WHO,1977). Preterm birth can be further sub-divided based on gestational age: extremely preterm (<28 weeks), very preterm (28 – <32 weeks) and moderate preterm (32 – <37 completed weeks of gestation) . Moderate preterm birth may be further split to focus on late preterm birth (34 – <37 completed weeks). The international definition for stillbirth rate clearly states to use stillbirths > 1,000 g or 28 weeks gestation, improving the ability to compare rates across countries and times.

    Why worry about preterm births?

    Complications of preterm birth are the single largest direct cause of neonatal deaths,responsible for 35% of the world’s 3.1 million deaths a year, and the second most common cause of under-5 deaths after pneumonia

     

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    What can be done?

    Obliterate the survival gap for preterm babies in lower income countries by implementing improved obstetric and newborn care
    Innovative solutions for prevention of preterm births

    Prevention better than cure!!

    Awareness of the causes/risk factors of preterm birth and their identification such as multiple pregnancies, chronic disease conditions, low BMI , young/advanced maternal age,infection,physical/mental stress,etc

    Pearls of advice from the Fetal Medicine Specialists:
    • Universal cervical screening for preterm births at 22-24 weeks of gestation (Measuring the length of the cervix by means of a transvaginal ultrasound)
    • Progesterone supplementation for women with singleton pregnancies at risk for preterm delivery
    • Cervical encerclage(stitch) in women with short cervix with a previous history of preterm birth.
    • Steroid Injections(Betamethasone) for lung maturity for women with imminent preterm delivery to minimise complications of respiratory distress

    November 17th has been designated as the World Prematurity Day and we pledge to work for its cause.Visit our Facebook page and FMF India Website for further details on the activities that the Apollo centre for Fetal Medicine plans to hold to raise awareness for the cause.

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