Num­ber of pre­ma­ture births could in­crease

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG

With the adop­tion of the uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy, the num­ber of older women be­com­ing preg­nant has risen sig­nif­i­cantly and will re­sult in a rise in the num­ber of pre­ma­ture births, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial with the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Planning Com­mis­sion.

Every year in China, about 1.2 mil­lion ba­bies are born pre­ma­turely or within 37 weeks of con­cep­tion, ac­count­ing for about 7 per­cent of an­nual births, ac­cord­ing to Song Li, the com­mis­sion’s deputy head of ma­ter­nal and in­fant health­care.

“Early health­care and in­ter­ven­tion can save the lives of most pre­ma­ture ba­bies,” Song said. “China will pro­mote nurs­ing care tech­niques for pre­ma­ture ba­bies and for­mu­late a reg­u­la­tion on their health­care to pre­vent and re­duce death and dis­abil­i­ties.”

Zhang Tuo­hong, from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s China Of­fice, said preg­nant older women face higher risks, such as di­a­betes and hy­per­ten­sion, which may re­sult in a grow­ing num­ber turn­ing to as­sisted re­pro­duc­tive tech­nolo­gies. These fac­tors may all con­trib­ute to pre­ma­ture birth.

One of the ma­jor nurs­ing tech­niques be­ing pi­loted in some ar­eas is “kangaroo mother care” — a mea­sure rec­om­mended by the WHO that re­volves around di­rect skin con­tact be­tween mother and baby, which keeps the in­fant warm and fa­cil­i­tates breast­feed­ing.

Zhang said many tech­niques for nurs­ing pre­ma­ture ba­bies, such as kangaroo mother care, are sim­ple, cheap and easy to ap­ply, but many par­ents lack aware­ness of them and even some med­i­cal staff don’t know how to im­ple­ment them.

Glob­ally, pre­ma­ture birth is a ma­jor cause of in­fant mor­tal­ity, but sim­ply ap­ply­ing the cor­rect nurs­ing tech­niques can save the lives of 75 per­cent of pre­ma­ture ba­bies, she said.

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