Pune: High-risk newborns can have a 40 per cent less chance of abnormalities if mothers use simple home-based techniques and caregivers identify these babies at the early stages. This was revealed in a study carried out among 500 newborns in Pune between 2011 and 2015.
'High-risk newborn' includes those babies which are born prematurely, with low birth weight, neonatal jaundice, neonatal seizures, respiratory distress and other conditions. The study was conducted by Dr Suchit Tamboli as part of his PhD thesis on 'Neurodevelopmental follow up of high-risk newborn’. Dr Tamboli is a paediatrician based in Ahmednagar.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Tamboli said mothers are considered therapists of high-risk babies and simple techniques by them can help the child grow normally. “In one method, Dr MK Sinha's Child Development Programme, the mother has to pay attention to six areas of mental and physical development for a child between the age of 0 to 6 years," he said.
“Mothers should talk to a baby, have eye to eye contact, play with a rattle, play with hanging toys and the baby should listen to music for three hours with the radio 1.5 feet away. Such things are simple and can be easily done at home,” said Dr Tamboli.
He added that high-risk babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit should be recognised, as these babies have scholastic backwardness and learning disabilities. The study also concluded that socioeconomic factors like mother’s education, type of family, age of parents and family history of intellectual disability were found to have significant association with the neurodevelopmental outcome.
Talking about the intervention by mothers and paediatricians, Dr Tamboli said that a mother and paediatricians can use the ‘Developmental Observation Card’ where simple development at three months, six months and eight months can be noted. “Also, for detailed study and accuracy for screening, the Denver Development Screening Test is suggested for paediatricians. This test is used worldwide and requires only 10 minutes and its accuracy is above 90 per cent,” said Dr Tamboli.
He said the specially-abled people in the country are almost 15 per cent of the total population. “If this number has to be reduced, then early intervention is a must,” said Dr Tamboli.