NGO: Parents with premature babies need more help

Mother and child.
Mother and child. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

An Estonian charity believes parents with premature babies need more support and should be offered additional help after they leave hospital.

November is premature baby awareness month and Sunday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" looked at the situation in Estonia.

Between 5-6 percent of all births are premature and in Estonia this means approximately 800 babies a year are born earlier than expected.

Tallinn's Pelgulinn Maternity Hospital sees 150-200 babies born prematurely and each baby needs extra care and attention.

"We have one premature baby at the moment. He is quite late though, 36+6 weeks with us. But we still have preemies every week," said Kadri Madar, head of midwifery at the West Tallinn Central Hospital.

It is not uncommon for these babies to have breathing problems or be born with jaundice, a liver condition. There is also a higher risk of health problems, but 90 percent of babies born early survive.

Madar said nothing can prevent babies from being born before their due date, but awareness amongst doctors has risen and technology has advanced a lot.

"The treatment of premature babies is very expensive, the equipment we need is very expensive, the training is very expensive, but at the moment we are in a very good position," said Madar.

However, not all of Estonia's hospitals have the same resources.

Kristel Kukk, head of the NGO Premature Babies (MTÜ Enneaegsed lapsed), believes there should be more awareness of conditions arising from premature birth in educational institutions. She also thinks parents should get more support after leaving hospital.

"When a family comes home from hospital, so that they are not alone, but supported in every way. Because in the hospital you always have someone with you, you can ask questions, but when you get home there is no one with you, and then it can be frightening" Kukk told AK.

Every autumn, the charity collects donations for these tiny babies and four hospitals are collecting baby blankets this year.

Eliisa Ladva, a mother of two, who participated in the project said making a blanket is not complicated, but it can be time-consuming. Several people she knows have had premature babies.

"Close friends, quite a few of them, and there are such wonderful stories of babies born very, very early who are now big babies," she said.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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