Hospital offers online help to families with premature babies

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital is the city's first to provide online consultation and out-patient services for preterm births.
Cai Wenjun
Hospital offers online help to families with premature babies
Dong Jun / SHINE

Medical staff from Shanghai International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital teach families how to take care of premature babies on Tuesday, World Prematurity Day.

To raise awareness of preterm birth and spread information about how to help affected families, an online premature baby follow-up management and consultation platform was launched at Shanghai International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital on Tuesday, which was also World Prematurity Day.

The hospital is the first to offer this sort of online consultation and outpatient service in the city.

“Through the online platform, families can receive direction on feeding and caring for premature babies at home and consult doctors on problems with babies’ development,” said hospital official Liu Zhiwei. “The online platform also offers outpatient service, drug prescription and drug delivery service. We hope the service can offer improved management for premature babies, improve their long-term recovery and enhance their healthy growth.”

Since the 1990s, the hospital has established a one-stop diagnosis and treatment system covering prenatal, delivery, after-birth and after-discharge premature baby management to improve such babies’ life quality and offer guidance to families.

In the past five years, the hospital has delivered some 80,000 babies. It received some 2,400 hospitalized newborn babies each year, and has an over 90-percent success rate in treating severely underweight newborns.

Premature babies mean those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. They have much higher mortality and higher incidence of complications like neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, intracranial hemorrhage and pulmonary hemorrhage than other babies due to immature organ development. The shorter the pregnancy, the higher the risk.

According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of premature birth is 11 percent, which means some 15 million babies are born with prematurity globally every year.

The incidence of prematurity in China is 10 percent. China is one of the countries with the largest number of premature babies.

A mother with a baby born in the 30th week of pregnancy expressed her gratitude to the hospital and medical staff, who guided and supported her family in taking care of the child following delivery.

“My son was born with only some 2.5 kilograms, two-thirds the weight of a mature baby. He was so small, so I nicknamed him as ‘little sesame’,” said the 28-year-old mother surnamed Zhang. “Under the treatment and long-term care of doctors, he has caught up with his peers. There was so much pain, hard work and effort during the whole process.”

Dr Tang Zheng, director of the hospital’s neonatology department, said every family with a premature baby faces challenges and troubles.

“We will offer support and help to them, as the best time for premature babies to catch up with others is the first year, especially six months after delivery. Through proper feeding, good care and scientific management, most premature babies can catch up with their peers in one or two years,” Tang said.

Hospital offers online help to families with premature babies
Dong Jun / SHINE

A nurse at Shanghai International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital checks a premature baby.

Hospital offers online help to families with premature babies
Dong Jun / SHINE
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