24 March 2014
Premature babies, also known as preterm babies or preemies, are babies born between nineteen and thirty-eight weeks, unlike full-term babies that are born during thirty-eight to forty-two weeks. When most people think about premature birth, they don’t think about all the issues that may be a factor. Prematurity, even with all of the advances in technology, is still a major cause of fetal and neonatal death. In today’s society, there are many babies born prematurely. Some babies may have complications and others will be perfectly well. According to the author Teri Fontenot (president and CEO of Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, and American Hospital Association board chair) in the article “Initiative Helped Reduce Admissions of Premature Babies to NICU by 25%,” “Healthy babies are worth the wait” (1). There are many of factors in preventing premature birth, such as waiting until full term to deliver, if possible, and whom to fight for if a mother is in that situation.
There are some health conditions that contribute to delivering a premature baby, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Most of the time the cause of preterm labor is unknown. However, about 15% of almost all premature births end up having multiple pregnancies such as twins or triplets (“Premature Infant” 1). A weakened cervix that dilates early, birth defects in the uterus, histories of preterm delivery, and urinary tract infection are some pregnancy related conditions could become a risk of early delivering (“Premature Infant” 2). However, there are many other risks that could contribute to preterm babies.
Some research studies have shown that babies who are born premature, but were not born for medical reasons such as a heart defect, are at a higher risk to be admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and also may have a higher risk of complications. Premature babies are very weak and defenseless. One reason for this is that a baby may become startled in shock by a loud sound or even from bright lights. This occurs because many babies have fully developed senses and underdeveloped organs. Babies that are born prematurely may have difficulties because their organs are not fully developed. Problems can range from jaundice to breathing problems and can include extended hospital stays for babies who are not severely premature. It takes the full gestation period for all the organs to be developed fully. When preemies need a higher level of care than their birth hospital can provide, they are transported to a hospital that is equipped to meet their medical needs. Unfortunately, this often creates an added difficulty for parents who have to travel miles away from their homes to visit and care for their preemie. Most babies that are born premature are transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for critical care so that they can develop more normally in a secure environment.
More factors to consider in preventing premature births are surfacing. Physicians are starting to question whether pregnant women should receive a weekly dosage of steroids if they are at risk for going into early labor and delivering premature babies. The problem is not necessarily the steroid because research shows that the drug can decline the risk of life-threatening complications. However, physicians have been giving pregnant women a higher dose than they should, which may lead to severe effects for the babies and their mother (Brody 1). Therefore, a precautionary measure thought to help prevent premature births may be doing more harm than good if doctors do not monitor dosages carefully.
There are many issues that arise from premature babies being born. One concern is medical professors, government leaders, and many others are trying to reassure the physicians that they need to abandon early-term birth for babies that are not born for medical reasons. Let’s…