A study estimated that 15 million premature babies are born every year – that’s more than 1 in 10 babies! Preterm birth, also known as premature birth, is the birth of a baby before 37 weeks gestational age. While a moderate to late preterm baby is born between 32 – 37 weeks, a very preterm baby is born between 28 – 32 weeks. Besides that, extremely preterm babies are born before 28 weeks.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the earlier a baby is born, the less likely he or she is to survive. However, those who do survive often have serious, sometimes long-term health problems and disabilities.
Here are 10 must-know facts about premature babies:
1. Premature babies are also known as preemies or premmies.
2. Preterm birth is hard to control and is not caused by any action or behavior the mother made. As the Health Research Funding explains, preterm births are sometimes caused by genetic or environmental factors. Other times it could be due to uterine infections, heavy bleeding, stress, placental separation or multiple fetuses in utero.
3. Your baby’s doctors are called neonatologists. Neonatologists are doctors who specialize in the care of sick full-term and preterm infants.
4. Premature babies are so small that they are weighed in grams rather than kilograms, pounces, or ounces. But not to worry, it’s only temporary.
5. Premature babies are at higher risk of having breathing difficulties, anaemia, and other medical complications.
6. Early birth is the largest single cause of death in the newborn period and in infancy.
7. Studies show boys are most likely to be born prematurely than girls.
8. Teen moms are more likely to give birth prematurely. Research has proven that pregnant women aged between 14 – 17 years are at higher risk of preterm birth and of having a child with low birth weight – especially if they are having their second child!
9. And that’s not all, moms over the age of 35 are also at risk of having preemies!
10. Experts say that the majority of premature children will catch up in size within the first year and a live healthy life. Famous figures such as Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, and Stevie Wonder were all born prematurely.