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Premature Babies

pregnancy Related Articles for Pregnancy

What is a premature baby?

Premature babies are defined as those born between twenty four and thirty seven weeks of gestation. The chances of survival for a baby born before twenty four weeks of pregnancy are rather slim. Premature babies are even more vulnerable than full-term babies and need to be treated with special care. These tiny, frail creatures are often born with problems, as many of their faculties are not fully developed.

What are the problems associated with premature babies?

The common problems associated with premature babies are:

  • Respiratory distress syndrome. Premature babies have difficulty in gas exchange as a result of protein and fluid collection within the small air sacs and the collapse of the sacs themselves.
  • Difficulty in feeding because of weakness.
  • Greater likelihood of contracting jaundice and increased vulnerability to its effects.
  • More susceptible to infection.
  • Congenital defects, including those that affect the heart.
  • Danger of bleeding in the brain leading to the development of hydrocephalus (dilatation of the fluid-filled cavities or ventricles in the brain).

These babies are so fragile that doctors must tread gingerly when it comes to taking care of them. Sometimes the solution can lead to a further problem. There have been cases of a baby's lung been blown out or scarred as a result of over-inflation of the lung by a respirator. Oxygen therapy has been known to cause blindness or impaired vision in these premature babies.

The smaller and less mature the premature baby is at birth, the greater will be its problems in the long run. These babies can develop cerebral palsy, mental retardation, learning disorders, and vision, speech and hearing problems.

Premature babies require special care

Premature babies are put straight into intensive care. They are usually kept in incubators. They require round-the-clock nursing. They are fed intravenously and sometimes put on the respirator to help them breathe if necessary. Their vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and pulse are closely monitored. Premature babies are kept in intensive care till the doctors are of the opinion that they are out of danger. Even after they have been discharged from the hospital, these babies will require periodic evaluations from paediatricians, neonatologists, ophthalmologists and psychologists to nip any problems that crop up in the bud.

A life and death decision

If premature labour could not be arrested, the next best thing the doctors can do is to make sure that these frail babies survive and have a normal life as far as possible. The advances in neonatal care have increased the chances of survival of premature babies. The catch is that the babies that survive are often severely handicapped. Faced with a tiny, sick, premature baby, doctors are in a quandary whether to do their utmost to ensure the baby's survival or let nature take its course. While the baby may survive there is no guaranteeing the quality of her life. She may be physically or mentally handicapped. At the same time, it is very difficult for both parents and doctors to take a decision to let the baby die.

The doctors can help the parents make an informed decision about their baby's life. The pros and cons of her survival should be discussed threadbare because whichever way the decision goes there is no turning back. Parents should also keep in mind that deciding to save the baby could be a cruel decision if the baby is going to be severely handicapped. In addition, they should consider how caring for a handicapped child could exact a terrible toll on their lives. They will also need to think about who will look after the child if they are not around any longer.

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Mrs Linda Thomas.6 years ago
going to school to be a doctor
Mindy.6 years ago
i was happy with this article, as i have a preemie son, up to a point and then in the last paragraph i was flabbergasted by what had been wrote. a child, handicapped or not, is a gift form god and should be treated as one. whether a child is handicapped should not mean that the parents will have a terrible life from then on and they should not take it that way. i am appalled that someone,who i am hoping is not a mother, could write such a thing.
madison.6 years ago
is there any dises i need to look out for and what is is thed travel exspences and what animals will i see there and is there any bad parts in town?????
honey.6 years ago
this info was good to read,but i wanted more info,my daughter(adopted) is 15 months old,and has problem in her left eye(squint) we consulted an opthamologist,he says she will be fine,i have my doubts(call it a mothers instinct over cautiousness)can someone help/suggest????
Janaki Parajuli.6 years ago
ya i m bsc nsg student and i like this article and understood also , but the thing is ,are all the handicapped prematurely born or what?plz make me clear
Mrs Asha .M.6 years ago
so far i have liked most articles given on this site but i thoroughly disagree with this article.infact i am offended and upset,for instead of reassuring a young mother like me who has just delivered a pre-mature baby your article only creates more stress and anxiety,you have actually managed to paint a very pessimistic picture, where actually in european countries more than 90% of pre-mature babies survive and are strong and healthy in the long run without any side effects whatsover.of course my son has a long way to go but he is very healthy(due to god's grace and the advance in medical science available in swiss)and i would have liked to read an article on the after care rather than your article which only creates fear in a new mother and talks of problems and not solutions.pls make sure in future you are aware about the advances made in pre-mature baby care before you post such articles and scare unsuspecting people.
Priscilla Smith.6 years ago
i read this article along with other peoples comments i gave birth to a prem baby at 24 weeks and i have to say if i had of red this site when he was in hospital i might have been more prepared as he didnt make it due to severe brain bleeds. the doctors firstly told me he would have no quality of life if he made it as he would be severly disabled but i dint care as long as i still had him with me i spoke to other mothers that i knew 1 with profoundly physical and mentally disability and she along ih her son still have a good life which made me 100% sure i wanted him to fight unfortunatly his bleeds were to severe and he didnt pull through but reading this makes me think that maybe it is more common than i realised and i am definitly not alone.
mom of preemie.6 years ago
i feel disgusted with this artcile. all preemies need not be mentally or physically fact, insteda of reassuring mothers that, with proper care , their babies can turn out to be as good as other babies,it helps in creating stress and anxiety.
in fact my cousin was a premature baby born at 28 she has completed her engineering with good marks and has offers from 2-3 companies.
Hayley Dymond.6 years ago
i gave birth to my little boy in march at twenty four weeks on the day. he weighed onepoundand four ounces....after a long four months in hospital he is now six months old and nearly ten pounds. everybody has their own opinions andeach set of circumstances is individual but if i believed everthing i have read on this subject i wouldnt have my beautifal perfect bundle now!
wafaa mohammed.6 years ago
premature baby is a sudden happiness ,,,we could not let it go away without fighting for his life we could not take the decision of let him die ,,,but we we can wait and ask for god help .. he gave it to us and fe is only one could take him ,,,
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