Premature birth defectsAuthor: clinnovo
A premature infant is a baby born before 37 weeks gestation. Premature babies are at increased risk of breathing problems, low cognitive ability, blindness, deafness and even death.
Premature birth (also known as preterm birth) is defined medically as childbirth occurring earlier than 37 completed weeks of gestation.
Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks.
About 12 percent of babies in the United States - or 1 in 8 - are born prematurely each year.
In 2003, more than 490,000 babies in the U.S.
were born prematurely.
Premature babies are sometimes called preemies.
The shorter the term of pregnancy is, the greater the risks of complications.
Infants born prematurely have an increased risk of death in the first year of life; prematurity itself is the leading cause of newborn death within one month of birth at 25%.
They are also at a greater risk for developing serious health problems such as: cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, gastrointestinal problems, mental retardation, vision and hearing loss.
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There are many possibilities that can help to predict which pregnancies are at risk for premature delivery. Some of the risk factors may increase chances of premature baby include:
• Multiple gestation pregnancies.
• Having high or low level of amniotic fluid.
• Urinary tract infection during pregnancy.
• Maternal smoking or use of illicit drugs.
• Maternal malnutrition.
• Having high level stress and obesity.
• Lack of prenatal care.
• Pregnancy in young age.
• Problems with the fetus can also lead to a premature delivery.
• Previous delivery of premature baby.
• History of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, fibroids and high blood pressure.
Most premature births are caused by spontaneous preterm labor, spontaneous premature rupture of the membranes, problem with uterus, untreated diseases such as urinary tract infection.
Complications that are more likely in premature are respiratory distress syndrome, low birth weight, intraventricular hemorrhage, patent ductus arteriosus, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, jaundice, anemia, autism, chronic lung disease and infections.
Breast milk is an ultimate source to premature babies for growth.
Treatment with corticosteroid drugs increase maturation of fetal lungs and significantly reduce the risk of RDS, IVH and infant death and treatment with tocolytics called magnesium sulfate that may postpone labor.
Premature birth can be prevented by maintaining prenatal care as early as possible in the pregnancy, and to continue care until the baby is born. Premature labor can sometimes be treated or delayed by a medication that blocks uterine contractions.
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