The last decade has seen an increase in the rate of premature births in Singapore. However, according to a recent survey, despite this trend, there is limited understanding about causes and prevention of premature births amongst mums and mums to be in Singapore. Read on to find out more.
“It was a terrifying reality but it’s a lesson in love, life and motherhood.”
Every mum wants to give birth to a full-term, healthy baby. Yet some babies are born much earlier than their due date – hence the term premature babies.
Globally, approximately 15 million babies are born too soon, or prematurely, across the world every year. That is 41, 095 babies each day, or 29 babies every single minute.
One million of these premature babies don’t survive, and those who do, often have lifelong health problems.
In Singapore too, premature birth is a terrifying reality for 1 out of 10 mums. In fact, according to a recent report premature births in Singapore are on the rise. Over the last decade, the national rate of preterm births has gone up from 7.2 per cent to 9.5 per cent.
This upward trend in preterm births is also reflected in individual hospitals. For instance, in the last ten years the incidence of preterm births at KKH has gone up from 11 per cent to 13.5 per cent.
However, despite its high level of occurrence, a large number of mums-to-be don’t fully understand what prematurity is, what are its causes and that they can actually help prevent it.
A number of organisations came together in 2011 to start the World Prematurity Day to raise awareness about preterm birth and to bring more attention and urgency to global initiatives to address it. Since then, the day is celebrated on November 17 every year.
In support of babies born too early, their mums and even mums-to-be, Abbott has initiated the DreamBig education series, which aims to spread awareness on prematurity and help turn small starts into big futures.
As part of the DreamBig education series, Abbott in conjunction with theAsianparent, conducted a survey on Prematurity Awareness amongst Singaporean mums.
The overall results indicated that there is little understanding of what prematurity is and what are its causes and possible preventions. In fact, according to the survey only 32% or less than one-third of Singaporean mums know the definition of prematurity.
When is a baby considered premature?
Any baby born at less than the full 37 completed weeks of pregnancy is considered to be preterm. However, some babies do come earlier than others, and the extent of the challenges they face depends on the number of completed weeks of gestation. The closer the birth is to 37 weeks of pregnancy, the fewer the complications. Below are the different classifications of premature baby.
- Extreme preterm babies are those born at less than 28 weeks of gestation
- Very preterm babies are those born between 28 to less than 32 weeks of gestation
- Moderate to Late preterm babies are those born between 32 to less than 37 weeks of gestation.
What are the causes of premature birth? Can premature births be prevented? Click on the next page to find out.