#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Prematurity And Miscarriage

Happy Easter! He’s risen!

Have you ever paused to consider how the death and resurrection of Christ imitates our lives sometimes? Something absolutely terrible happens and we think ‘This is it! The end is here! I can never recover from this!’ But then, that’s you speaking within the limits of what you know. But, God shows up and that supposed failure becomes the stepping stone to great things! Halleluya!

In the same way that His death and resurrection brought great hope to humanity, may today mark the resurrection of peace, joy, happiness and everything good in your lives!

And now to our question….

Q: Doc what causes premature birth and frequent miscarriage, if it’s happening to the same woman?

A: What is prematurity? A premature baby comes into the world before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Babies born prematurely have to be in intensive care (Special Care Baby Unit) so as to give them a fighting chance. They are prone to having problems like apnea(where the baby sometimes stops breathing), anaemia (shortage of sufficient number of red blood cells to carry oxygen round the body), respiratory problems and low blood pressure etc.

Who is at risk of having a premature baby? Sometimes we don’t really know the cause, but it has been observed in mothers younger than 19 years of age and older than 40 years. Some cases can be brought on by chronic diseases which the mother already had before pregnancy like hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus or could be due to Urinary Tract Infections, other diseases of the heart or kidney, due to abnormal positions of the placenta in pregnancy or due to multiple pregnancy (carrying more than one baby in the womb eg twins). Smoking, drinking alcohol, drug abuse and failure of the mother to feed well during pregnancy are other factors that can lead to prematurity.

On miscarriages, often times, the cause of a miscarriage is not identified. Women who go through this need to understand this so that they don’t blame themselves unduly. Having said that though, first trimester miscarriages are mainly due to problems with the baby/fetus. These problems could be due to problems with the placenta. This is how the baby receives its nutrients in the womb and so, if this organ cannot deliver, a miscarriage might occur. There may also be a problem with the baby’s chromosomes, such that a baby may receive too many or too few genetic materials or there may be a damaged egg/sperm. Other associated risk factors include smoking and drinking alcohol, being overweight, malnutrition, increased maternal age, trauma and drug abuse. By the way, trimester is 3 months of pregnancy. Therefore, first trimester refers to the 1st three months, 2nd trimester, the 2nd three months and 3rd trimester, the last three months

So, my advice is, once you get pregnant start your antenatal classes asap and let your doctor know if you have any of the mentioned risk factors. In the developing countries like Nigeria, our survival rates for prematurity (depending on number of completed weeks of pregnancy) are not as good as in advanced countries. Let’s give our babies a fighting chance.

I hope y’all have had a great day!

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