Monday, October 05, 2009

A report today indicated that there is an increasing number of premature births in the world. There are about 1 millions deaths a year attributed to prematurely. Africa is at the top of the list with the US a close second. About 10% of births are considered premature which is a pregnancy that ends before 37 weeks gestation.

There are a number of factors accounting for this alarming rise in premature babies. The incidence is higher in the lower socioeconomic group who are not healthy and do not get adequate prenatal care. Another major factors is the increased birth rate in teenagers. Prematures are also common in women who have their child at a more advanced age. Women now have a tendency to start a career and then take time off for a baby when they are well into their 40s. Infertility problems with multiple births resulting from the infertility drugs is also another leading cause. C-Section deliveries used to be done only in emergency situations but now are done for convenience and the result is commonly a premature baby.

It’s also amazing what can now be accomplished in the neonatal nursery. Infants as low as 24 weeks gestation survive with all the artificial ventilation support along with the drug surfactant which prevents the lungs from getting the lethal hyaline membrane disease found in the premature lung. Neonatal nurses are highly skilled and the care of these tiny creatures is miraculous.

In the old days the mother came in from the cotton field and had her baby at home. All that was needed was some blankets and boiling water. I have never figured out why they needed the boiling water, but it worked. The babies were strong and were soon out in the field helping the mother and dad on the farm.

Our staggering infant mortality rate in the US from prematurely is often stated as a reason for universal healthcare. We need universal healthcare but it is not going to solve the problem of premature births, stated above. We need a cultural change as much as universal healthcare to improve our health statistics. That cultural change is also needed to reduce our crime rate and to advance our educational efforts.

Japan and Europe do better than the US with life expectancy and infant mortality because they are a more homogenous population with much the same culture and values.

We could take a few lessons from the deer in my back yard. They just drop their fawn in my yard and move on. In a few minutes the fawn is up and on its way. The fawn all seem to be pretty mature. The deer, however, are following many of the habits of the human, which may give some hope for their eventual demise. They are very promiscuous and interbreed, thus weakening their species. They are also becoming a welfare state as they look for handouts from humans who are stupid enough to feed them.

I learn a lot from nature just sitting on my porch. I have also learned to keep my doors locked for the same reasons we have a large number of premature births and a high drop out rate in our schools.


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