Premature babies in Brazil are feeling the effects of the coronavirus – even if they are not infected


His denial left medical professionals without support, struggling to care for patients without proper prevention or treatment resources. During the entire pandemic, Brazil has seen more than 16.7 million cases, and the current daily mortality rate is about 2,000. Although this is down from the daily high of 4,000 in the second wave of April, it is still one of the highest numbers in the world.

Although the quality and availability of health care in a country as large as Brazil may vary, even the best medical facilities in the country are on the verge of collapse, and only rich areas such as São Paulo have rebounded.

Six months have passed since the oxygen crisis in the Amazon region, and mothers and babies can still feel the impact.

Nursing complications

Every year, approximately 340,000 babies in Brazil are born prematurely before 37 weeks.This is twice that of Europe, according to World Health Organization (WHO), The number of preterm births in the world is ranked 10th. Many important care methods for these babies, including early breastfeeding and skin contact with their parents, are still shelved in hospitals across the country, although there is evidence that this puts their growth, development and even survival at a much higher risk than the new coronavirus -19.

Although the number of preterm births in Brazil in 2020 has not yet been announced, experts such as Denise Suguitani, the founder and director of the country’s only national NGO supporting premature babies and their families, doubt , This number will increase over previous years.

Prenatal care can prevent many mothers from giving birth prematurely, but covid-19 makes it more likely that expectant parents will skip the visits of these doctors.According to a study conducted by the agency Brazilian Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Associations In July and August of last year, 81% of obstetricians/gynecologists consulted stated that their patients were worried about contracting Covid-19 during the prenatal appointment.

“When the mother has COVID-19 and eventually has breathing problems, the baby may suffocate in the womb.”

Rossiclei Pinheiro, Amazon Federal University

“The risk of preterm birth is determined during the prenatal appointment,” Suguitani said. “Therefore, if a pregnant woman does not make an appointment or does not attend an examination, the problems that may cause premature birth during her pregnancy may not be discovered.”

Covid-19 infection during pregnancy may also be a factor in preterm birth. Rossiclei Pinheiro, a pediatrician and neonatologist at Amazon Federal University, said that when the inflammatory response caused by the coronavirus or any other type of infection manifests in the amniotic membrane, the amniotic membrane ruptures prematurely. Can start premature delivery.

In other cases, babies whose mothers have covid-19 have to deliberately give birth early.

“When the mother has COVID-19 and eventually has breathing problems, the baby may suffocate in the womb,” Pinheiro said.

Limit the risk of exposure

During the pandemic, hospitals restricted visitors to the neonatal intensive care unit, and some staff even prevented parents from contacting babies. Pinheiro and other experts said this was the wrong approach.

A particularly important form of skin contact is the newborn’s chest resting on the parent. It is called kangaroo care and has been proven to reduce infant mortality by 40%, reduce hypothermia by more than 70%, and reduce severe infections by 65%.in Research in March, WHO and partner researchers found that kangaroo-style care makes babies born to mothers infected with the new coronavirus more likely to survive, and the benefits far outweigh the small risk of dying from the virus.

Carla Luana da Silva, a 27-year-old woman from São Paulo State, was not only banned from kangaroo-style care of her extremely premature baby, but also banned from any contact with her. Da Silva said this was one of the toughest parts of the baby’s 81-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.



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