premature baby

Photo by PrinceEdsmommy

The month of November is Prematurity Awareness Month, sponsored by the March of Dimes. I had no idea that the rate of premature births has been escalating over the past 20 years.

Being lucky enough to have delivered full-term healthy infants, I hadn't been paying attention and thought the problem was under control. How wrong I was.

Today one in eight babies are born before they should be. In nearly 40 percent of all cases, no one knows why, since premature birth can happen to any woman, even healthy ones.

But here are some of the other "known" reasons why more women give birth prematurely:

Infections and inflammation Even bacterial infections far away from the reproductive organs, such as periodontal disease, may contribute to premature delivery -- so pregnant ladies, get to the dentist!

Stress Felt by either the mother or the baby.

Bleeding Such as from placental abruption, when the placenta peels away from the uterine wall before delivery.

Stretching The uterus may become overstretched by the presence of multiples, amniotic fluid, or certain abnormalities.

Babies who are born premature are not simply small babies. They are often too sick or underdeveloped to leave the hospital and must stay in the NICU for weeks or months. Other concerns:

  • These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complications and death; however, most, eventually, will go home.
  • Even the best of care cannot always spare a premature baby from lasting disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and learning problems, chronic lung disease, and vision and hearing problems.
  • Half of all neurological disabilities in children are related to premature birth.

There are lots of places where moms of premature babies can turn for support on CafeMom:

Preemie Moms

2007 & 2008 Preemie Babies

Children with Special Needs Around the World

Are you the mother of a premature baby? How long did your little one have to stay in the hospital before coming home?

 

Related posts:

Kangaroo Care for Premature Babies

Mandatory Drug Testing for Moms of Preemies?