Photos: At a Donbas maternity clinic, war heightens anxieties

by | Jul 18, 2022 | World

In the last specialist maternity ward still in Ukraine’s control in the eastern Donbas region, the windows are packed with sandbags.Rooms used for births at the Perinatal Centre in the city of Pokrovsk follow the two-wall rule, which says the safest parts of a building are separated from the outside by at least two walls.
“Sometimes we’ve had to deliver babies during shelling,” said Dr Ivan Tsyganok, the head of the centre. “Labour is a process that cannot be stopped.”
The centre, roughly 40km (25 miles) from the closest front line, gives a glimpse of the suffering the war is inflicting on pregnant women – their anxiety over where they can give birth, fears of the hospital coming under attack, and what doctors have observed to be an increased rate of early labour.
Tsyganok fears the stress of living under Russian attack has led to a spike in premature births, a fear borne out in initial data from the centre and observed elsewhere in conflict zones.
Katya Buravtsova’s second child, Illiusha, was among those born early, delivered at 28 weeks. He would have had “zero chance” at survival if not for the centre, Tsyganok said.
In 2021, about 12 percent of more than 1,000 babies born at the centre were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to …

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