What are the Long-Term Consequences of Being Born Prematurely?

Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely, before their 24th week of gestation. This means that if you give birth to a baby before their 24th week, your chances of survival are usually less than 50 percent. Unfortunately, many survivors face lifelong disability, including learning problems and visual and hearing problems. The chance of survival depends on the baby's degree of prematurity and birth weight.A full-term pregnancy is said to last between 37 and 42 weeks.

Two-thirds of babies born at 24 weeks' gestation who are admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) will survive to return home. Ninety-eight percent of babies born at 30 weeks' gestation will survive. For the first time, researchers can begin to understand the long-term consequences of being born so early.The World Health Organization (WHO) regularly updates clinical guidelines for the treatment of pregnancy and mothers with preterm birth or at risk of preterm delivery, as well as guidelines on the care of premature babies and babies with low birth weight. In Australia, around eight percent of babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of gestation) every year.Van Meurs is addressing the long-term consequences of being born extremely prematurely, variously defined as being less than 25 to 28 weeks of gestational age.

Most preterm babies are born between 32 and 36 weeks of gestation, and nearly all of these babies grow up to be healthy children. After the start of Transition Home Plus, babies discharged from the NICU had lower health care costs and fewer visits to the hospital, issues that are of great concern to premature babies.In low-income settings, half of babies born 32 weeks or younger (2 months early) die due to a lack of feasible and cost-effective care, such as heat, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties. Older preterm babies who don't have breathing problems will be treated in a special care room.Of the 5,391 people born extremely prematurely, 78% had at least one condition that manifested itself in adolescence or early adulthood, such as a psychiatric disorder, compared to 37% of people born at term. The suboptimal use of technology in middle income environments is causing a greater burden of disability among preterm infants who survive the neonatal period.Stanford uses innovative neuromonitoring devices to monitor brain activity and brain oxygen levels of frail newborns in order to minimize brain injuries in the neonatal intensive care unit.

In Sainte-Justine, researchers also found that young adults who were born at 28 weeks or less are nearly three times the usual risk of having high blood pressure.While not all premature babies have complications, being born too soon can cause short- and long-term health problems. Later it restarts, but premature babies can produce an excessive amount of a growth factor called VEGF, which causes excessive proliferation of blood vessels in the eye, a disorder known as retinopathy.Lex Doyle, pediatrician and former director of VICS, recalls that when he began caring for premature babies in 1975, very few survived if they were born with less than 1000 grams, a birth weight that corresponds to about 28 weeks of gestation.

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