17 November marks World Prematurity Day. We look at the reasons for preterm births and how moms can better look after themselves and their little ones.
Globally, about 15 million babies (12% of all births) are born preterm. Of these babies, one million die due to complications and a lack of proper healthcare.
The number of preterm births in South Africa has increased, with one in seven babies born premature – that is 15% of all births in the country.
Reasons for premature births in South Africa:
- Late or inadequate antenatal care
- Pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy-related illnesses.
Can you prevent a premature birth?
No, but expectant moms should be aware of medical conditions that could result in preterm labour and educate themselves on the signs of early labour, says baby and childbirth educator Lynne Bluff. “It’s crucial to consult with a midwife or obstetrician, as preterm labour can be halted in many instances.”
Tips for expecting moms
- Attend all your recommended antenatal appointments. SEE: Pregnant women advised to double their number of prenatal check-ups
- Manage your weight gain during pregnancy. SEE: Here’s how much weight you should be gaining during pregnancy
- Visit a dentist at least once during your pregnancy. Infected gums produce prostaglandins – the same hormones that initiate labour. SEE: Dental care during pregnancy
Buy your purple sticker to support World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day aims to provide education on prematurity and support an urgent call to halve the under five-mortality rate between 2010 and 2025.
Wear Purple for Preemies is an initiative created by the Newborns Groote Schuur Trust and supported by Huggies. You can support this cause by buying a sticker for R10 and wearing purple on World Prematurity Day, or by making a donation to the Groote Schuur Trust at www.newborns.org.za .
All funds raised through this initiative aim to improve healthcare to premature babies.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.