Premature Birth : Health Issues
When you call it as ‘Premature Birth’ ?
Premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before estimated due date of delivery. Premature birth is one that takes place before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. It is important for the baby health to avoid such situations. Baby is also called preterm baby.
What are the types of premature birth?
- Late preterm: born between 34 and 36 completed weeks of pregnancy
- Moderately preterm, born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
- Very preterm, born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
- Extremely preterm, born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy
What are the risk factors for Premature birth?
Known risk factors of premature delivery, includes:
- Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or domestic violence
- Multiple miscarriages or abortions
- Physical injury or trauma
- Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs
- Having a previous premature birth
- Pregnancy with twins, triplets or other multiples
- An interval of less than six months between pregnancies
- Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
- Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta
- Some infections, particularly of the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract
- Some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
What complications can happen due to premature birth?
In some extreme cases the following issues may happen.
- Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that can be caused by infection, inadequate blood flow or injury to a newborn’s developing brain either early during pregnancy or while the baby is still young and immature.
- Heart problems. The most common heart problems premature babies experience are patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and low blood pressure (hypotension). PDA is a persistent opening between the aorta and pulmonary artery. While this heart defect often closes on its own, left untreated it can lead to a heart murmur, heart failure as well as other complications. Low blood pressure may require adjustments in intravenous fluids, medicines and sometimes blood transfusions.
- Dental problems. Premature infants who have been critically ill are at increased risk of developing dental problems, such as delayed tooth eruption, tooth discoloration and improperly aligned teeth.
- Behavioral and psychological problems. Children who experienced premature birth may be more likely than full-term infants to have certain behavioral or psychological problems, as well as developmental delays.
- Chronic health issues. Premature babies are more likely to have chronic health issues — some of which may require hospital care — than are full-term infants. Infections, asthma and feeding problems are more likely to develop or persist. Premature infants are also at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Impaired learning. Premature babies are more likely to lag behind their full-term counterparts on various developmental milestones. Upon school age, a child who was born prematurely might be more likely to have learning disabilities.
- Vision problems. Premature infants may develop retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that occurs when blood vessels swell and overgrow in the light-sensitive layer of nerves at the back of the eye (retina). Sometimes the abnormal retinal vessels gradually scar the retina, pulling it out of position. When the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye, it’s called retinal detachment, a condition that, if undetected, can impair vision and cause blindness.
- Hearing problems. Premature babies are at increased risk of some degree of hearing loss. All babies will have their hearing checked before going home.
- Anemia . It is a common condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. While all newborns experience a slow drop in red blood cell count during the first months of life, the decrease may be greater in premature babies.