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Premature Baby
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 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does one know that one's child will be born prematurely? I just gave birth to a premature baby. My child has no skin below her nose. She does not have an upper lip. What is the proper way to correct this problem? Will her speech be affected? My elder child has has been blind since childhood. Is the premature birth of my second child due to genetic defects?

Maxie (Goa, India)

A: Ultrasound examinations are a good way of identifying any medical (or genetic) problems with the baby. Since you had a problem with your firstborn too, an ultrasound examination would certainly have helped. Ultrasound tests also help in identifying any other problems related to the placenta (placenta praevia, abruptio, etc) or to the amniotic fluid (too much or too little) that could threaten the pregnancy and lead to a premature delivery. Given the complicated nature of the case, your questions are best answered by a paediatric surgeon who would have opportunity to examine the child as well as have access to all the detailed medical histories of the baby as well as the mother. It is possible that there is some genetic element to the premature birth and the complications associated with it, but once again, without detailed medical histories, it would be impossible to arrive at any conclusion. Your best source of diagnosis and treatment would be paediatric surgeons, who would also be able to guide you on the long-term impact on the child. I would suggest you visit one as soon as possible, and get this problem solved so it doesn't lead to self-esteem problems in the future.

Dr. Sahni

Q: My baby was born premature. He does not sleep and cries when we place him on the bed. He wants to be carried all the time. He has had reddish marks on his forehead and eyes since birth. Will these marks go?

Vandita (Bollangir, India)

A: I am sure your baby is just going through a phase. I am not sure whether he has colic. Babies up to 3 months get these pains which could go on for hours together. If he cries when he is being put to bed, you could try a sling. Bathing him before bedtime might also help. Those little marks should go away by 1 year of age.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: My child was born in the 7th month of my pregnancy. His birth weight was only 1 kg. He was very weak and 3 months later we were told that he has an ROP problem. He is suffering from visual impairment. We had him operated, but the operation was not successful. What should we do? Why did this happen to our child?

Purna (New Delhi, India)

A: This is one of the problems associated with very low birth weight babies. The only way to prevent it is to have regular eye check-ups by experienced ophthalmologists. If detected early and cryo-surgery is done, then the eye damage could be minimised. But if it is already in the advanced stage, there may be very little one can do. I have no information as to how soon and at what stage the ROP was discovered and treated.

Dr. Subba Rao

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