Dr. Quimbo, a pediatrician-neonatologist, lists down the common causes of infants’ death during their first months of life:
1. Perinatal Conditions. This is the period around childbirth, especially the five months before and one month after birth. Most infant deaths result from the following: • poor maternal health and nutrition • insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery • inadequate care for the newborn baby • neonatal sepsis or infections • birth injury • aspiration syndromes • problems relating to premature births and congenital heart diseases
“It is crucial that the risk of infections on babies is prevented through a mother’s regular pre-natal check-ups and good nutrition,” explains Dr. Quimbo. For premature babies and those born with congenital heart diseases, she advises that they be guarded against upper and lower respiratory viral infections.
2. Pneumonia. This can be prevented by keeping baby in an environment that is neither too cold nor too hot, and by avoiding contact with people who have respiratory infections. “Prevent overcrowding in the house and have your baby immunized with the pneumoccocal vaccine,” Dr. Quimbo advises.
3. Gastroenteritis. Characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining and the intestines, gastroenteritis carries other symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Diarrhea, which disables absorption of nutrients and leads to dehydration, is known to be a major cause of infant mortality worldwide.
Dr. Quimbo advocates that babies be breastfed as long as possible to protect them from this disease. “If baby is bottle-fed, make sure to do antiseptic preparation of milk and other feeding paraphernalia,” she adds. “Have baby vaccinated, too, against rotavirus when he is 6 weeks old.” To prevent dehydration during diarrhea, have baby drink more fluids or have him administered with an Intravenous or I.V. solution at the hospital.
Click here to read more on causes of infant mortality.