Premature babies

Having a baby should be the most exciting time of a woman’s life, but unfortunately babies can be born prematurely, resulting in a lot of hospital care needed. In the worst of cases, some premature babies fail to survive, as a result of their organs not developing enough, or them having to be reliant on oxygen to breathe.

Premature babies are prone to health risks, whether born ten weeks early or 5 weeks early. How early the baby is delivered often has a direct result on the problems the baby will experience, both immediately after birth and later in life.

Some common problems premature babies can experience are:

  • Apnoea – this is what a baby’s breathing rhythm is called when it is interrupted for 15 minutes or more. This normal happens because of a reduced heart rate, and although the baby will outgrow this condition at some point, it’s something that needs to be monitored carefully.
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) – This is a breathing disorder, caused by under-developed lungs. A premature baby’s lungs lack surfactant, which makes the lungs stay expanded. This makes it difficult for the baby to breathe, and is again something that needs to be monitored.
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia – This is the condition where babies require oxygen over a significant period of time. As the baby grown older, and their organs become more mature, this problem normally fixes itself.
  • Jaundice – This is where a chemical in the baby’s blood builds up, resulting in their sin becoming a yellowy type of colour. Putting the baby under special lights for a specified period of time treats this condition.

In terms of long-term problems for premature babies, many grow up without anything wrong with them at all. However, some babies are unfortunate and experience problems later on, such as:

  • Blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Epilepsy
  • Development and/or behavioural problems
  • Slow development

There is still a large amount of premature babies that, against all odds, come home from hospital quickly and live a normal, healthy life. If you have had a premature baby, you should assume they’ll live a normal life until told otherwise. Although they may meet development milestones slightly later than full-term or overdue babies, this doesn’t mean things will be this way all their lives. Hundreds of babies exceed hospital professionals’ advice every single day, which is proof that babies lives can turn around extremely quickly, for the better.

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