EXCLUSIVE: World Prematurity Day 2021: Expert busts myths related to premature births
Whether it’s about a crying baby or a baby that seems too weak, it is the mother who gets the blame. And why not? Mothers are the easy targets after all. More so because we have a habit of playing the blame game by falling for myths since it’s an easy option. Because after all who has the time to hunt for facts?
Be it COVID-19, cancer or premature births, everything seems to be stuck in the web of myths. The more you struggle to break free, the more tangled it gets. However, it is better to have zero knowledge about something rather than to fall for myths associated with it.
To mark the occasion of World Prematurity Day, Dr S V N S Sowjanya, MBBS, MD Pediatrics, DNB Neonatology, Consultant Neonatologist, Fernandez Foundation, aims to bust a few myths around premature births that often makes it hard for the mothers and babies to live a normal life.
Myth 1: Mother is responsible for the premature delivery as she did not take adequate care and rest during pregnancy or she overworked herself
Fact: In reality, up to 50 percent of preterm births have no known cause. There is no need to restrict the physical activity of the mother unless medically advised. All she needs is a regular follow up with the obstetrician.
Myth 2: All premature babies will have learning disabilities
Fact: This is not true. Yes, there is a risk for developing a learning disability but with proper care and support starting right after birth, the incidence has significantly come down. “We have early intervention programs in place to prevent this,” says Sowjanya.
Myth 3: Premature babies cannot be fed on breastmilk as mothers cannot produce enough
Fact: Premature babies need mother’s milk more than a term baby as it is custom made for the baby. “When the mother is allowed to visit her baby often, spend time with the baby, taught about the importance of frequent milk expression to stimulate milk production, it is possible for her to produce sufficient milk for the baby,” Sowjanya tells you.
Myth 4: Parents cannot bond with a preterm baby while in the NICU
Fact: This is false. We have moved on to M-NICU in which the mother would be provided with a bed beside the baby’s warmer or incubator so that she can spend the entire time with her baby. “The parents are allowed into the NICU soon after the baby’s birth with all sterile precautions to involve in the caregiving processes what is termed as Family-centred care. The baby is put in close skin to skin contact with the mother on her bare chest and tied together what we call Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). KMC, oil massage, music therapy etc bring the mother and baby together and strengthen the bond,” explains Sowjanya.