As part of the ongoing awareness campaign concerning premature babies this month, a crucial message is being circulated to the public, especially to pregnant women, emphasizing the significance of taking pre-natal care services seriously.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that pre-natal care also referred to as pre-conception care, is often overlooked by expectant mothers in Ghana.
In a recent interview on Kyzz FM's morning show with Dr. Sharckles, nurses from Takoradi Hospital voiced their concerns, stressing the importance of dispelling misconceptions and encouraging expectant mothers to seek medical care promptly when planning to conceive.
Sandra Abokuma Willson, one of the nurses, clarified that premature babies are those born before the 37th week of gestation. Contrary to myths suggesting curses or family histories as causes, she highlighted that such beliefs hold no factual basis.
Eunice Oppong further elaborated on the categories of pre-term births, ranging from extremely pre-term to late pre-term, underscoring the challenges faced due to limited equipment and facilities, resulting in lower survival rates for these babies.
Grace Adarkwa highlighted that while specific causes leading to premature births aren't always identifiable, certain risk factors such as chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, fibroids, and stress can contribute to early deliveries.
Differentiating between pre-term births and miscarriages, she clarified that miscarriages typically occur in the early stages of pregnancy, usually within the first trimester.
The nurses collectively emphasized that while pre-term babies are born essentially like any other baby, they might be more susceptible to diseases and disabilities such as heart defects.
To mitigate the risks of pre-term births, Eunice Oppong stressed the importance for expectant mothers to maintain a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients and supplements, as prescribed by a physician, to ensure the strength required for carrying the baby to full term.
In conclusion, the nurses urged the general public, especially expectant mothers, to take pre-conception or pre-natal care seriously. They emphasized that early identification of preventable risks can significantly reduce the likelihood of premature delivery."