Nutrition support for neonates


Paediatricians say newborns can be taken better care of by proper nutrition support.

By Shalu Chowrasia

Paediatric Nutritionist, Ms Priya Karkera said, “Nutrition support and planning in neo-natal surgeries are required.” Data from the Health Department shows that North Karnataka districts, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura, Davangere, and Raichur were the top five districts with high infant deaths in 2016–17.

Gynecologist Mrs Rashmi Gunny told The Softcopy that mothers should be given a proper diet. “Most women do not follow a diet and do not take care of their nutritional needs which in some cases are the reasons for underweight infants,” she said.

India accounts for nearly 40 percent of global low birth weight infants, according to UNICEF’s survey. Ms Karkera mentioned that maximum number of neonatal deaths is preterm, which is premature delivery.

Satinder Kaur, a woman who recently delivered twins during preterm labour says that nutrition is of utmost importance. She said, “One of my kids was slightly underweight, but the paediatrician took care of the child.” Although breast milk is the preferred source of nutrients for newborns, she added that the doctor advised her to feed instant formula to them if breast milk is not sufficient.

In an International conference on Advancing Surgical Nutrition Care in India at Ramaiah Medical College, noted speakers talked about the need for nutritional care for surgical patients.

Ms Karkera, at the conference, pointed out that it is inappropriate and sometimes hazardous to use methods for adults or older children to the care of neonates.

Most newborn deaths are preventable by Pediatric Nutritionist, she added. She said that a different approach for neonates is required because nutritional goals for neonates may be different from healthy full-term infants.

She quoted the CSPEN guidelines for nutrition support in neonates. The nutrition problems, the guidelines state, have become particularly relevant in neonates, and nutrition support is usually required for preterm infants and most sick term infants.

Inability to maintain nutrient solubility and drug-nutrient interactions may complicate nutritional support in infants.

Ms Karkera said that India is in need of a guideline for Nutrition Support & Planning in Neo-Natal Surgeries. “Although there are challenges, I think paediatricians can overcome it by ensuring that neonatal intensive care units look forward to providing nutrition support to newborns,” she said. The goals of nutrition support are to maintain development and growth while avoiding nutrition-related complications. The practical guidelines for the nutritional management of newborn infants summarize the sources of minerals, vitamins, trace elements and other additions that Ms Karkera mentioned