Helping Premature Babies Survive
From voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish Premature birth is the second-greatest killer of babies worldwide, after pneumonia. A report called "Born Too Soon" says one in ten babies throughout the world is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. As a midwife, Carole Presern assists women who are giving birth. She also has seen newborns die. CAROLE PRESERN, PARTNERSHIP FOR MATERNAL, NEWBORN AND CHILD HEALTH: "It's a devastating experience. And it touches you. You remember people's faces." Carole Presern works for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She says much can be done to prevent premature births. CAROLE PRESERN: "You make sure people are not having their babies too young. You make sure if they have pre-existing conditions, like if they're too underweight, which is quite common in the developing world, as you'd know. You've got to also look at if somebody's had a history of preterm birth. They need much more attention. You want to look at the spacing between births. So you don't want people having their children too fast because that can lead to prematurity." There are simple things that can help a premature baby survive. CAROLE PRESERN: "You can give the mother steroids before the baby is born. That helps the lungs to mature. That's a very cheap, very cost-effective intervention." After birth, the baby can be placed on the chest of the mother. This "kangaroo care" method keeps the baby warm. Dr. Joy Lawn works for Save the Children. DR. JOY LAWN "Kangaroo mother care, even compared to care in an incubator, halves the risk of death." The report says the number of premature births is increasing in both wealthy and developing countries. Christopher Howson is with the March of Dimes. CHRISTOPHER HOWSON "Over 60 percent of preterm births occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia." Where ever a baby is born, the child can have health problems if the birth happens even a few weeks early. Experts say they want to better understand why babies are born early, how to reduce the number of premature births, and how to help premature babies survive. I'm Shirley Griffith.