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Preemie Babies, the Warrior Moms, and Why Prematurity Awareness is a Must Today

“After having two miscarriages, and after going through cervical cerclage, I conceived for the third time, and still delivered a preterm baby (on the last day of my 7th month pregnancy). You can imagine the kind of emotional ups and downs, the hardships, the trauma a mother goes through in this entire process. Today, my son is around a year and a half, is healthy, and I feel like I have conquered a war or something,” says a nostalgic mom Aditi Aditya Korde, from Gandhinagar.

When babies are born sooner than expected, they are terms as premature or preemie babies. Premature births, sudden complications of pregnancy, premature infant morbidity and mortality, these are some of the lesser talked about issues that the world needs to be well aware of. World Prematurity Awareness Week, is here and Team Transformative is bringing to you some first-hand experiences of real moms, and an expert on how they tackles the premature deliveries, and what word of advice they have for the readers…

“I was not prepared for the prematurity of baby, I was prepared for a full-term baby.” Aditi Aditya Korde, Homemaker, Gandhinagar

“Because I had gone through cervical cerclage,in my mind I was looking forward to full term delivery. In my previous pregnancy my cervix dilated so this time I was mentally prepared that everything is well taken care of, that I had taken all the precautions. I was told by my gynecologist to be careful about movements and nothing specifically on this. Still it happened and I delivered on the last day of my 7th month pregnancy. While I had a normal delivery but for next 15 days, my son was in NICU and I was in the hospital. His oxygen level was constantly monitored, the most heartbreaking thing was that other infants who got admitted in NICU after him were getting discharged and he was still there. And, to top it on, I was still not able to feed him because he was not able to latch on to me. And, there was a constant pressure from the pediatrician for it,” says Aditi.

She further adds, “As a mom , I feel we go through a lot of mental and emotional stress simultaneously. I made sure to keep myself positive, and I finally got to hold my baby after one week. That feeling cannot be expressed in words. I had been waiting for that moment for years. It is important to create awareness around prematurity because the kind of lifestyle we have these days, like, women are working and they are on the go all the time. Probably we are working double than men. It is important to take care of self, both physically and mentally. After two miscarriages, I had to prepare not just myself but my husband as well, both mentally and emotionally.”

Her Word of Advice; “Even if your baby is in NICU, you have to be positive as your vibes are going to work for your baby. If I’ll feel positive, my baby will feel positive too. Let me tell you, women can conquer anything so motherhood only strengthens you further.”

“The moment I got to learn to hold my baby, that filled me with joy” Shalima Sashidharan, ServiceNow Developer, Infosys, Mysore

“I delivered in my 32nd week, which is 8th month beginning. I had no complications at all, so it certainly came as a shock. I was going through some stress and that trigerred the contraction. After getting admitted at Apollo, in just two days, I delivered my son. It’s been almost three years now, and he’s doing well,” says a happy Shalima.

She further shares her pregnancy experience. “I had hyperemesis gravidarum, I used to vomit from the beginning of my first month of pregnancy. I used to go to the hospital daily for my drips, even the food intake was in the form of fluids throughout. But everything was good in terms of my baby’s health, all the scans, weight all was signing to a normal delivery. My gyne told me that I would definitely go for a normal deliver as there was no major complication, from that point suddenly coming to this , I got scared and I was totally in panic mode. I had planned my delivery at my hometown, and suddenly I was here at Apollo Mysore. Then, for the first time when I saw my baby, not fully developed, it was quite traumatic, I wasn’t expecting that. I was told to muster courage and the hospital staff was supportive and counselled me, the baby was so fragile, I started feeling guilty that because of me my baby was suffering, those tubes and all around him, it was extremely painful,” remembers Shalima.

Her Word of Advice; “It will be very difficult in the beginning as your baby won’t breastfeed, you will have to be mentally prepared for this. My husband supported me and gave me courage that it is just a phase and it will pass. Staying positive is the only way out.”

“Prematurity awareness is important,” Dr. Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai

“Premature babies require NICU (newborn intensive care unit) stay, they are not with the mother and that is a big emotional trauma for the mother to start with. Whole pregnancy, she was basically looking forward to holding her baby in her arms and that joy is taken away from her right in the beginning. These babies too face their own set of problems because they are preterm, or in simple words, born early. They face a lot of breathing issues, they may require ventilatory or respiratory support when they are in NICU. They also face gastrointestinal problems as their intestinal lining is also not mature. They don’t start on feeding very quickly, they need intravenous nutrition for some time. And, this is another emotional issue with the mother as she’s not able to breastfeed her baby. She cannot even give express breast milk to the baby till a point of time that the pediatrician feels that the baby is in a condition that we can start the feed,” tells Dr. Manjiri.

Reasons for Prematurity

“We call it as incompetent Cervix and for that Cervical Cerclage surgery is done. The mouth of the uterus is supposed to hold the pregnancy in place but sometimes, the cervix starts getting shorter and starts opening up, which it is not supposed to do unless it reaches full term pregnancy. Women who have this kind of cervisis, they will either have early miscarriages(14-22 weeks) or, preterm deliveries. At times if there is no such history, we as doctors need to check out the urinary or vaginal infections during pregnancy. It is one of the biggest causes of preterm delivery as it can trigger preterm labour and thus, preterm delivery. Preterm delivery are happening worldwide across race, religion, cast,age. It is a big task for healthcare system to look after these babies, and even these babies have their own set of problems that sometimes can lead to bigger developmental issues later.

Her Word of Advice; “Please do regular follow ups with your doctor, if there is any earlier history of pregnancy be very clear and precise, share all reports in time rather than showing them later, and if any pain then inform your doctor immediately as there are medications that can control uterine contractions, if reported in time.”

What do you think?

Written by transformative

Transformative is single-handedly maneuvered and navigated under the expert hands of Dr. Supriya Himanshu, Consulting Editor, Transformative. Dr. Supriya, who has spent more than 15 years in media industry, working with media houses like TOI, HT, MediaTransAsia, The Statesman, TheHindu, Danika Jagran, both in print and online space, from Deputy Editor to being a Freelancer, is conceptualizing the content and cover, in sync with today’s need.

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