Baby Preemies

Prems: The Precarious Balancing Act

Premature babiesIt’s one thing for you to decide that your baby should fit into your routine and not you into his, but a new trend accommodating both obstetrician’s and mom’s busy diaries all too often sees baby being forced into the world before he is ready.

It is a dicey slice that could result in a devastating impact on your child, with detrimental effects that all too often are permanent. So think firstly about your precious child before you allow your doctor to induce you unless you need an early caesarean for a medical reason. A full term pregnancy will range from between 37 and 42 weeks. Nature determined this time frame and we’re best suited to abiding by it. Many will insist it is not our place to rule our lives in our Higher Power’s disguise.

The good old fashioned method of introducing your baby to this wonderful world has been tried and tested for centuries, but suddenly moms are too busy to give their babies the entrance they deserve, and doctors simply have too many patients to allow for -out of office hour births, a prominent obstetrician who is opposed to inductions said.

-Why have a child if you cannot accommodate them even at this crucial stage of their lives? he said.


Convenience stores and now convenience births

Research reflects that as high as a 40 percent rate of babies born in the United States are now arriving by -convenience births or inductions. These shocking statistics show that no medical reasons are attached to these decisions.

This statistic falls into the premature births category where babies are induced before the 37th week of pregnancy.

This time of the pregnancy is as vital to the baby’s health as any other time, but the common problems that can occur during a birth at this stage are delayed development, learning capacity may be hampered, serious setbacks in the development of motor skills and severe delays with regard to his mental abilities.

It is interesting to note that at 34 weeks a baby’s brain weighs in at a whopping 35 percent less than it would if the foetus went full-term. Imagine how that child’s brain is immediately disadvantaged!


Not all bad news

A very real danger of respiratory problems could also occur with prematurely born babies, but we have to see the flip side of the coin and remember that not all premature babies encounter long term difficulties.

All these struggling babies are always initially placed on support to help their tiny, undeveloped bodies cope with the unexpected strain of facing life. But it is not all doom and gloom. Some newborns do a stint on the pipes and machines for a bit and then seem to develop extremely well and play -catch up like real little pros! We should never, however, ignore the magnitude of those two to four weeks which for baby is a toss up between health and poor health, yet for us a fleeting time in our lives.

So ask yourself a simple question: are you willing to take such a crucial chance with your baby’s life purely so you don’t miss your best friend’s wedding? 


Handle with care

We send parcels -handle with care that are heavier and larger than many prem babies. Most prems are well under the weight of 1kg, some as tiny as 300 – 400 grams. You probably cook more than that weight in vegetables for your family’s dinner.

How small all these prem baby’s organs must be, trapped in a petite body restricting their growth. It is no surprise then that these little survivors have a lot of hard work ahead of them to grow and to heal and to catch up to full-term babies their age.


Girl power

More than half the reported premature babies born in the world today are girls and although studies are inconclusive to date, researchers believe it could well be attributed to the female hormones and the influence they may have on the pace with which the lungs and other vital organs grow. Now there has been remarkable progress on the medical frontier regarding premature babies with some reported cases of babies pulling through from birth at just 25 weeks. There have been a small handful of survivors following a 21 week gestation. Of course none of these were pre-planned births by mother or obstetrician.


A survival instinct

But some of these new lives have shown an incredibly deep seated and strong survival instinct. This, coupled with the expertise of skilled medical teams, they beat the odds and survive. However, these little boys and girls have a tough road ahead of them. They are most certainly afflicted due to their ordeals and usually suffer from difficult disabilities including the likes of blindness, heart defects, mental difficulties and or cerebral palsy.

-A child born from a 21 week pregnancy and surviving outside of the womb is Canadian born James Gill (1987) who arrived all of 1lb. 6oz (680g), said Dr Ruth Plummer from America.
-His case is an incredible one and shows just how resilient and strong a baby’s instinct for survival can be.
But it was Amillia Taylor (2006) who announced her arrival at just 10oz (280g)!
Amillia and James fought for survival and overcame all the odds.

Science is improving, babies survive

With modern technology and medical science improving as we speak many children are able to survive outside of the womb before the normal 28 week delivery date. Babies born at 22 weeks are expected to have just under 10 percent survival rate nowadays. A major escalation occurs in survival at 23 weeks (52 percent), by 24 weeks the scale hits the late 60s, deliveries at 25 weeks puts it at 82 percent, and from 26 weeks doctors and parents are confident of a survival rate in the 90 percent region.

To increase your baby’s chances of survival pregnant moms should eat well, not take any drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, be a fitness freak and exercise regularly – and skip your friend’s wedding if need be!


 – Bev Sinclair


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