Here’s why parents should crowdfund for premature baby treatment

By: Jasmine Marfatia

Published On: July 26, 2018

Preterm newborns are at high risk of medical complications that may require extensive treatment. Crowdfunding is an effective way for new parents to afford premature baby treatment.

Premature birth is a birth that takes place more than 3 weeks before the baby is due. Normally pregnancy term lasts about 40 weeks. In other words premature birth is one that occurs before the start of 37th week of pregnancy. Premature birth gives the baby less time to develop in the womb. This is where premature baby treatment becomes crucial in determining the future of the baby.

Umesha’s Struggle to Save His BabiesThe ache of watching your newborn child battle for life is something that no parent should have to go through. Sadly, for Umesha, the joy and anticipation he had when his twins were about to come into the world, was short lived. When his wife delivered a baby boy and girl on the 22nd of December, he felt like all his dreams had come true. He would have a small family of four, just like he had envisioned for himself. 

It was the crippling news of their premature delivery that didn’t let their happiness last long. 

Though Umesha and his wife were still very excited and overwhelmed at bringing their children into the world, they were overtaken with fear about the health of the premature babies. The twins were born at 28 weeks, and their bodies were small and feeble. Since the day of their delivery, they haven’t seen the world outside of  the Nine Cloud Hospital in Bangalore, where they were being treated in neonatal ICU for treatment.

Too many babies lose their life due to unavailability of premature baby treatment

15 million babies are born preterm (premature) every year. India accounts for 60% of all preterm births, ranking first in a list of 10 countries. 

The complications of premature birth include breathing problems, heart conditions, brain problems, temperature control problems, gastrointestinal issues, blood disorders, and impaired metabolism and immune system related problems. Many of these usually arise due to issues of the pregnancy itself. This is why ensuring quality prenatal care for pregnant women, and premature baby care for the child is necessary to prevent birth defects or complications to both, the mother and child. 

While Umesha feared for the health of his children, that wasn’t the only thing troubling him. The financial burden that came upon him, due to the expensive medical care his twins required, was adding to his trouble. Umesha is a self-made man who leads a simple life. As an accountant and the only earning member of the family, he was unable to bear the medical expenses of NICU. 

Since the birth of the twins, 8 lakhs of his savings had already been exhausted in payments of hospital bills, medications, and tests. The daily expense amounted to Rs 50,000. The doctors has suggested that the twins should stay in neonatal care at least for another 45 days. With his savings depleted and a meagre salary, he would not be able to afford medical treatment. 

How to take care of premature babies?

premature-babies-in-indiaSteps to reduce the risk of having a preterm baby

Prenatal care is the cornerstone to healthy deliveries, babies, and labour. There are many factors that are crucial to ensure a health pregnancy namely:

  1. Lab tests to check for gestational diabetes, blood pressure, iron levels, or certain infections.

  2. Pap smear examinations to check for cervical health.

  3. Ultrasound to see that the fetus is growing in the correct position.

  4. Adequate supplementation of vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies, especially iron and folic acid.

  5. Educating them about healthy weight gain, nutritional needs, and exercise habits.

  6. Helping them cope with pregnancy related problems such as morning sickness, gastrointestinal conditions, skin changes etc.

All of the above factors are vital to keep in mind throughout the gestation period of 9 months. This implies monthly visits to medical professionals, tests, and health supplements.

Premature baby care at home

When a premature baby is discharged and can finally be taken home, parents must be made aware that caring for them is a little different than caring for a full term baby, as premature babies are more vulnerable to infections and other problems. Here are some factors that parents must be educated about:

  1. Maintaining the correct temperature for the child.

  2. Premature babies have special nutrition requirements as the have to catch up to the growth of full term babies. So feeding requirements must discussed with a doctor.

  3. Premature babies are at high risk of developing breathing difficulties, which is why parents must be equipped with the necessary breathing aid in case any problems arise.

  4. Following the right methods for cleaning the baby, and keeping infections at bay is important for parents to know.

Raising funds for premature baby treatment costsMany parts of India, especially rural areas have little to no knowledge or access to prenatal care. It is only through word of mouth that certain pregnancy related notes are spread - however the truth in those are questionable. Such issues have a lot to do with the financial disparity in the country. Rural women are unable to afford the fees of visiting a medical professional routinely during the nine months of her pregnancy. 

The availability of quality clinics/ hospitals is another major concern. 

Umesha too, was struggling to find ways to raise money for premature baby treatment for his twins when he was informed about how crowdfunding has helped many such parents afford quality neonatal care for their children. 

Without wasting any time, he immediately started a premature baby treatment crowdfunding campaign on Impact Guru. Once the campaign went live, donations from all over the country started pouring in. Umesha was overwhelmed with the enormous response he received in just 15 days - he raised over one lakh. 

As his fund continued to grow, his hopes were restored, because he would finally be able to give the twins the medical attention they needed and deserved.

Today, many people turn to medical crowdfunding to afford expensive treatments without drowning in debt.

By extending the benefits of a crowdfunding to pregnant women from low income groups, we may be able to reduce complications such as miscarriages, stillbirths, or premature babies. 

In case a premature birth does take place and neonatal care is required, medical requirements add up fast, and tend to amount for large expenses, something that not all families are able to afford. By providing a platform that ensures financial aid for parents of prematures babies, we may be able to reduce infant deaths, prevent diseases, and birth defects. 

We suggest you also read:

A Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon Narrates How He “Cheats Death" To Save Newborn Lives

Why Indians Are Choosing Fundraising For Medical Bills

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