When Charies Novelas found out she was pregnant in December last year, the 21-year old restaurant worker had to break up with her boyfriend and the father of her child.
While the father of the child did not welcome the news, Charies’ mother was enthusiastic about having a grandchild and even urged her daughter to attend the Buntis Congress, which she heard on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 every morning.
Charies, currently eight months pregnant, was one of the hundreds of mom-to-be’s who benefited from the DZMM’s 10th Buntis Congress held at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall 1 last May 19. The annual seminar staged by Mega Manila’s number one AM radio station aimed to teach future moms the do’s and don’ts of before and after giving birth.
“My mom urged me to come here. She said I would learn a lot of things I don’t know about motherhood and I did,” said Charies.
This year, the seminar focused on the Department of Health’s (DOH) health campaign called “Isulong ang Breastfeeding – Tama, Sapat at EKslusibo (TSEK)” that promotes the importance of breastfeeding as medical studies have proven that it aids the baby’s sensory and cognitive development and protects it against infectious and chronic diseases.
According to Jovita Raval, a nutrition officer from the National Nutrition Council (NNC), one of the most effective strategies to prevent infant death is immediate and appropriate breastfeeding within one hour after birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the child’s first six months.
Dr. Anthony Calibo, an officer from the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control who served as speaker at the event explained the Essential Newborn Care protocol crafted by DOH that seeks to reduce the number of newborn deaths in the country.
The simple four-step process, Dr. Anthony explained, involves immediate and thorough drying of the newborn, early skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby, properly-timed cord clamping and cutting, and non-separation of the newborn and mother for early breastfeeding, which protects infants from dying from infection.
Raval also discouraged the expectant mothers to supplement breast milk with formula milk as the latter lacks the sufficient nutrients needed in the infant’s early life stages.
More than one third of the 82,000 Filipino babies born in a year are newborns who die mostly of lack of oxygen to the brain, severe infection, and conditions during labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum.
Dra. Bles Salvador, DZMM anchor and an OB-GYN surgeon, also reminded the future mothers to undergo monthly check-up to monitor their babies’ development.
Hermes Pascua of DOH, meanwhile, advised the mom-to-be’s to have their babies undergo newborn screening shortly after birth to detect any congenital metabolic disorders whose symptoms might not be apparent at birth. If not identified and immediately treated, diseases such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, phenylketonuria, and galactosemia may lead to mental retardation and death.
Now armed with knowledge on proper attachment positioning to breastfeed babies and different techniques to express milk, Charies said she is determined to breastfeed her baby as it also develops close emotional bonding with the child.
“When my child is born, breastfeeding will be my top priority. I now know its benefits for my baby and for me,” she shared.
Charies and the rest of the would-be-moms who attended the seminar also took home baby bags, while movie passes, comforters, pillow sets, and bathroom, bedroom and recreations showcases were raffled away. They were also entertained by Garrie Concepcion and “Star Power” finalist K-La, who sang original tracks from their albums and rendered their own rendition of pop songs.
DZMM, meanwhile, will stage the second leg of its Buntis Congress in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan this August.