Discussion: A premature birth

Discussion: A premature birth

Discussion: A premature birth

A premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of completed pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy occurs at 40 weeks. Almost 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States are premature, or preemies (MedlinePlus). When babies are born prematurely they weigh less then full-term babies and can also have health problems to include breathing problems, feeding difficulties, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing problems, and developmental delays (MedlinePlus). Having premature babies is even more of a challenge for those with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. According to Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand from the YouTube Channel, “1 in 5 patients lack literacy skills and the ability to read, understand, and act on medical information”. In many cases, this applies to many diverse patients from ethnic backgrounds other than white patients. The video goes on to state a way to help patients with literacy problems is to create a “shame-free environment”, to make all patients feel more comfortable. In some cases, they lack financial resources, have lower educational levels, and minimal support from family or friends. This creates even more problems for these families trying to take care of a premature baby, already faced with many challenges. Cultural competency includes the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary for providing quality care to diverse populations (Jarvis, 2016). Physicians must consider the cultures of all mothers and their backgrounds when giving them education on caring for babies born prematurely. The March of Dimes website has data on premature births based on race and ethnicity from the years 2013-2015. They are as follows:

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American Indian/Alaskan Native 8.2%

White 9.2

Hispanics 9.4

Asian/Pacific Islander 10.9

Blacks 13.7

In the state of Nevada, blacks are 46% higher to have a preterm baby than any other woman. In addition to the many medical problems previously mentioned with premature babies, many of these parents may not have medical insurance or money to properly get adequate medical attention or nutrition for these babies. Every year, the March of Dimes has a walk called “March for Babies” to raise money for babies that are premature or have birth defects. One example of a family they help and listed on their website is the McBrides family that is black and had a premature baby born at 25 weeks and 4 days. The baby weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces at birth and spent 10 weeks in the in NICU before being transferred to a secondary hospital for more neurological care. This is an example of the emotional and financial strain put on many families that have premature babies. In the short-term, parents with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds must find ways to care for their premature baby. After leaving the hospital they must see their doctor as soon as possible for a follow up checkup. Talk to their doctor about ways to feed their baby. Breastfeeding is the best food for babies and if mom can’t or won’t breastfeed, ask the doctor where they can get help for donations for baby food. Parents need to also monitor the babies weight, especially in the first few months. It may take time before they catch up to the weight of full-term babies. Parents should check their vision and hearing often. Finally, parents need to stay up to date with the baby’s immunizations. In the long-term, parents need to continue to monitor their child’s growth and development. The child’s educational level may be less and consideration to hold the child back a grade may be a possibility. Most importantly, preterm babies are more susceptible to diseases and it is imperative to take the child for doctor visits and checkups. Cerebral palsy occurs higher in preterm babies. A big challenge for these families is the financial burden that comes with the medical bills. Families need to find local resources in their communities for help. Places for help would be local shelters, WIC programs, March of dimes, etc. Discussion: A premature birth



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