Over 13,300 babies born between 2014-2016, 2,500 to foreign mums

Major factors behind pre-term births are multiple pregnancies, IVF, chronic disease in the mother, including high blood-pressure and diabetes, and intra-uterine growth retardation in the fetus

A total of 13,343 babies were born in Malta between 2014-2016, 2,500 of whom were born to non-Maltese mothers.

Replying to parliamentary questions by Democratic Party MP Godfrey Farrugia, health minister and deputy Labour Party leader Chris Fearne said that, during the same period, there were an average of 337 premature births a year.

Statistics for 2017 are still being validated, Fearne said.

A baby is considered to be born prematurely if the birth takes place before the 37th week of pregnancy.

Medical literature shows that the major factors behind pre-term births are multiple pregnancies, IVF, chronic disease in the mother, including high blood-pressure and diabetes, and intra-uterine growth retardation in the fetus, the minister explained.

Congenital abnormalities

Fearne said that 393 babies, or 3% of all births, between 2013-2015, had congenital abnormalities according to the criteria set out by EUROCAT (European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies).

Twelve of these babies were stillbirths, while 14 died in the neonatal period, which is considered to be anywhere from zero to 27 days.

The main reasons for the deaths were multiple congenital anomalies, congenital heart defects, nervous system defects and chromosonal defects, Fearne explained.

Medical treatment abroad

In 2017, a total of 146 children under 16 were referred abroad for medical treatment, of whom 12 were neonates (aged one month or less).

Seventeen were aged between two and eleven months, while 117 were one year or older (but under 16).

 

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