Lesson 3 Newborn Health Issues

To maintain newborns’ health it is important to focus on enhancing healthcare during birth and the first weeks of life.
The high rates of preventable death and poor health of newborns and children under the age of five are a proof of the unfair distribution of life-saving interventions.

  • Poverty
  • Poor nutrition
  • Insufficient access to clean water and sanitation
  • Insufficient access to quality health services such as essential care for newborn

Therefore, every family and newborn should receive proper medical care. Neonatal care refers to the care that is provided during the first four weeks of life of an infant. It includes assessment of the need for resuscitation, physical examination, prophylactic medication and vaccination, and other important steps towards maintaining newborn’s health and wellbeing. 

Newborn Mortality 

  • 2.5 millionbabiesdie during their first month of life  
  • 1 millionbabiesdie on their first day of life 
  • 47% of deathsof underfive years old children are newborns 

The most common causes of newborn death are preterm birth complications, intrapartum* related events, and neonatal infections. This factors account for 80% of the total newborn deaths. Additionally, congenital disorders account for 11% of newborn deaths.

*intrapartum period: during labor or delivery 

  • 35% Preterm birth complications
  • 24% Intrapartum related events
  • 15% Sepsis/tetanus
  • 11% Congenital abnormalities
  • 1% Diarrhoea
  • 6% Pneumonia
  • 8% Other conditions

Source: https://www.healthynewbornnetwork.org/numbers/#_why. Data from the WHO and Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation Group (MCEE) 2018 and downloaded from http://data.unicef.org 

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Newborn health can be affected by factors like ethnicity or socioeconomic status. As mentioned before, mother’s health is directly connected to baby’s health and wellbeing.  Complications like preterm birth, intaurine growth restriction small for gestational age, low birth weight,  and even feto-infant mortality (stillbirth and infant death), perinatal mortality and neonatal death are possible to happen, therefore you should minimise the possibilities by following your doctor’s instructions. 

Some women choose delivery at home with or without a skilled birth attendant. The reasons might be the desire to give birth in a familiar place surrounded by your people, the sense of control over your pregnancy, cultural or religious beliefs or financial incapability. However, home delivery can result in many complications as there is no equipment and not enough skilled personnel to deal with adverse results. Therefore, if you believe that this method of delivery suits you, please choose experienced healthcare providers to assist you during the whole process and be ready for a hospital transfer if needed.  

Due to the aforementioned complications, some newborns have to go through NICU after they are born.

A NICU is a department of the hospital where babies go when they have health related difficulties after their birth. Parents are able to visit their children while they are in the NICU and might even be allowed to have physical contact with them. The environment of a NICU includes hospital equipment like infant warmers, monitors, feeding tubes, intravenous lines, ventilators etc. All this equipment is used to protect and assist their babies’ health. Therefore, if your child is in need for a NICU, you can ease your stress, knowing that the best healthcare is provided to your newborn child. 

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