While the number of preterm babies being born today is very high, it is seen that mothers are unprepared and unable to understand what steps must be taken to ensure the baby grows without any complications.
“According to data available, an estimated 15 million babies around the world are born premature each year, of which, over one million do not survive their early birth. Given the condition of the child, parents should take extra care to ensure it faces no problems. The nutrition of the mother and child is a factor to be focused on. It is, therefore, essential that parents be educated on the same,” said Dr Mathew Paul, a paediatrician.
Also, as per a survey conducted by Abott, a company that brings new products and technologies in nutrition, diagnostics and the like, titled ‘The Quality of Survival’, is was found that there is an urgent need to focus on nutrition and counselling of mothers with pre-term babies, equipping them to bring up healthier babies.
Studying the needs of pregnant mothers from the metro cities, the survey found that mothers with information on nutrition and growth are four times better prepared than those without counselling at the time of birth.
Stating that the nutritional growth of the baby is of utmost importance, Dr Paul said, “If everybody embarks on optimal nutrition counselling and education, we would not be having a lot of issues around nutrition.”
The Quality of Survival study found that mothers who received adequate and relevant counselling at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were four times more prepared to bring up a premature baby. They also actively sought information on feeding, nutrition and physical and mental development.
“Premature births in India are on the rise, but for mothers bringing up these children, it continues to be a solo struggle. As the survey highlights – awareness and timely counselling are two areas where mothers are constantly seeking help and advice. It’s important that doctors in the NICU impart the right knowledge on breast-feeding, care and tracking developmental goals in premature babies,” said Dr Bhupendra S Awasthi, Paediatrician, Founder and Managing Director, Surya Mother Childcare.