October 19, 2016
Life hasn’t been close to the same, but our daughter is growing beautifully. Most people look at her and think she is 3 or 4 months old when she is 8 months old. Shes tiny.
But she has over came a ton, some things we don’t know what being born early will have caused for her. Time will tell.
Here are a few things she overcame being born early.
Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) – Babies born sooner than 34 weeks have an increased risk of bleeding in the brain because immature blood vessels might not tolerate the changes in circulation that took place during labor. This can lead to future complications such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and learning difficulties. Intracranial hemorrhage occurs in about 1/3 of babies born at 24-26 weeks gestation.
If preterm labor is identified and is inevitable, there are medications that can be given to the mother to help reduce the risk of severe intracranial hemorrhage in the newborn.
Apnea and Bradycardia – Apnea is the absence of breathing. In the NICU an alarm will sound if a newborn develops an irregular breathing pattern of pauses longer than 10-15 seconds. Bradycardia is the reduction of heart rate.
An alarm will also sound if the newborn’s heart rate falls below 100 beats per minute. Usually a little tap or simple rub on the back helps remind the preemie to breath and also increases the heart rate.
Infection – A premature baby might not be able to resist certain infections. For its own protection the baby is placed in an incubator to provide protection against these infections.
Inability to maintain body heat – A premature baby is born with little body fat and immature skin, which makes it harder to maintain body heat. Treatment involves incubators to provide warmth.
Immature gastrointestinal and digestive system– Premature newborns are born with gastrointestinal systems that are too immature to absorb nutrients effectively. In such cases, they receive their initial nutrients through intravenous (IV) feeding. This is referred to as total parenteral nutrition (TPN). After a few days, newborns may be fed through a tube with breast milk or formula because they might not yet have the ability to swallow or suck on their own.
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) – This is a potentially blinding eye disorder. It affects most preemies between 24-26 weeks gestation, but rarely affects them beyond 33-34 weeks gestation. There are many different stages of this condition, and the prescribed treatment will depend on its severity. Treatments can include laser surgery or cryosurgery.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) – This condition occurs when a portion of the newborn’s intestine develops poor blood flow, which can lead to infection in the bowel wall. Treatment includes intravenous feeding and antibiotics. Only in severe cases is an operation considered necessary
Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) causes harsh, irregular breathing and difficulties due to the lack of a specific agent (surfactant) in the lungs that helps prevent the lungs from collapsing. Treatment involves one or more of the following: supplemental oxygen (through an oxygen hood), use of a respirator (ventilator), continuous positive airway pressure, endotracheal intubation and in severe cases, doses of surfactant.