A Specialist Paediatrician at Mother and Baby Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr. Priscilla Wobil has revealed that three out of five expectant mothers deliver premature babies in the Ashanti region.
‘For KATH, 60% of our admissions of expectant mothers are pre- term implying that three out of five babies are born prematurely out of the recorded 200 and 250 new borns monthly at the facility,’ she disclosed.
She enumerated that teenage pregnancy, lack of family planning, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, failure to attend antenatal care, alcohol intake, protein in urine are the main causes of premature births affecting expectant mothers in the region.
‘Some of these symptoms occur during pregnancy. Sometimes it could not just be the pregnancy itself but it could be before the pregnancy and the chances of having premature birth are very high. Pregnant Teenagers are also at a very high risk, lack of family planning, poor spacing of child bearing in less than two years accounts for premature birth.
If the first baby is one year old and she (mother) is pregnant for six months, she will be expected to deliver in three months time but as a result of her condition she will deliver in seven months or eight making the baby premature,’ she said.
She encouraged expectant mothers to go for regular antenatal meetings, saying lots of illnesses are identified and drugs which boost Haemoglobin (HB) are given to prevent various infection and anaemia.
‘It’s not all preterm births that are predicted, some just occur, so pregnant women should visit the hospital regularly,’ she urged.
Dr. Wobil advised pregnant women to inculcate the habit of proper hand-washing before and after handling their babies to prevent infection.
According to her, preterm babies need breast milk to help boost their immune system.
‘Mothers should give breast milk to their babies and desist from giving them formula tin milk,’ she entreated.