Premature births in Escambia County

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:54 PM CDT
Premature births in Escambia County story image
ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --  Escambia County has a high rate of premature births compared to other counties in Florida.
   
Sixteen percent of babies born in Escambia County are born too soon.
Women with a history of early deliveries or multiple pregnancies are at a higher risk to give birth prematurely but many times doctors don't know why some infants come early.

In today's Health Watch, two things moms can do to reduce their risk.
For twelve year old Brandon Phelps it's like coming home.

Born  at just 28 weeks -- Brandon's mom Cynthia was told her "micro preemie" was  very sick and fragile.

(("God gave me a calmness and he gave me the belief and the reassurance in myself that my baby was gonna be fine."))
   
Cynthia's pregnancy with Brandon began as twins.  She miscarried his twin at seven weeks.  She believes complications from that contributed to Brandon's early delivery -- but doctors could not be sure.

(("Prematurity is very misunderstood.  We know what the risk factors are, but we don't really know how to stop them."))

Neonatologist Ramak Amjad is the head of the NICU at Sacred Heart Hospital.  
He says there are two main steps  expectant mothers can take to cut down on their chances for an early delivery.

(("Get prenatal care and if you smoke, stop."))
Amjad says one problem he sees is pregnant moms who already have children skipping prenatal care because of problems with childcare.  He strongly cautions against that..

Amjad spends a lot of time with preemie parents and no matter the circumstances --  families struggle with guilt.

(("It's hard for the mother cause they blame themselves no matter what happens to their child and I tell them the same thing.  It's the truth.  There's nothing they did or did not do that caused this to happen.  Life's just unpredictable and they need to understand that."))
   
Cynthia's time in the NICU changed her career path.
(("It did, it took my life in a different direction."))
   
She vowed once her Brandon was in kindergarten she would go to nursing school.
(("Now I am living my dream, now I am a NICU nurse."))
   
Dr. Amjad says Cynthia's unique experience as both a parent and a caregiver -- gives her a special empathy that's invaluable for patient's  families.

(("If I feel that they need that encouragement and they need that support then I do."))
   
Cynthia says she's just grateful.
(("They give me so much.  They took care of my son and they gave me my son at the end of that three months to take home with me."))

For more information on premature births head to our website, weartv.com for a link to our local March of Dimes.
   

Premature births in Escambia County
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