A premature baby has to be under observation to make sure he develops fully and normally like any healthy child. There is a risk of many complications in a preemie as it grows, to know more, we have compiled information on premature baby development problems. Read on…
Being born as a preemie, has much more than the first few weeks in the intensive care. Pre-matured babies are those, that are born on or before 37 weeks of gestation (Gestation is the total number of weeks of the baby in the womb). Usually 40 weeks is considered the ideal time for birth of the baby, however, almost 10% of the total number of babies born in the United States are born premature. The major complication with these babies is physical and mental growth. Since they spend very less time in the womb, all the organs are not fully developed in the baby. This also includes mental development as the brain is not completely developed. The first and biggest fear about preemies is survival. Other complications depend on how premature is the baby and in what week he is born. The initial weeks right after birth are very crucial and often the point which decide if the baby is going to survive or give in. Apart from these complications that are dealt at the hospital in the initial stages, there are future complications that follow, even after the baby is discharged from the hospital. Moreover there is not a specific time or age bracket which reveal the possible developmental issues the child may have. Growth and development of the child may need to be observed for quite a few years. Some of the most possible premature baby development problems are listed in the information below. Take a look.
Common Health Problems in Premature Babies
- Premature babies have a risk of hypothermia (low body temperature), as the skin may not have enough fat to cushion it and keep it warm. Hypoglycaemia and hypocalcaemia may also develop in the baby.
- Slow growth is one of the most common health issues with premature babies. The physical development of the baby is affected as he may have an underdeveloped digestive system, and problems sucking and swallowing too.
- The lungs and the heart also may not be fully developed. Immature lungs and heart can develop breathing difficulties. Ventilators can help them breathe even after bringing them home, they eventually cope up and are able to breathe without support.
- In certain cases, a long time on the ventilator and high levels of oxygen can prove to be harmful for the baby. It can damage the lungs and eyes of the baby. Poor nutrition can also lead to slow and poor growth of the blood vessels of the eyes. The child can have blindness in one or both eyes.
- Poor nutrition affects the weight of the baby and other organs as well, the brain too is not well-developed. The tiny blood capillaries in the brain of the baby may break and leak. This is termed as Ventricular bleeding. This can lead to a hemorrhage deep in the brain.
- A condition called cerebral palsy may also develop. This leads to poor development of speech. A condition like poor or no movement of the limbs may also occur.
- Slow and incomplete brain development may also lead to breathing pauses, that is a part of the brain that controls breathing is not grown fully.
- Poor brain development may further lead to hearing loss too. Convulsions are also among the risks, especially if the child develops hypocalcaemia or hypoglycaemia. This can cause damage to the brain.
- Immunity is also another factor that is underdeveloped. In such conditions the child is more prone to infections and diseases.
- Some studies have also proved that a premature child may have problems with social interactions and poor concentration. The reason for this is motor delays. This is perhaps because of the underdeveloped brain of the baby.
- Damage to certain parts of the brain that control motor functions can lead to major issues in the child’s mental and emotional development.
- Lower IQ, difficulty in social interaction, poor concentration, learning and developmental issues are among the few areas of concern in preemies. The child may also delay speech and movements like walking, sitting up, crawling, etc.
Though all these aspects are the most common developmental problems in premature babies. These babies catch up with full term children as they grow up. Medical help is needed in certain cases. But most of them recover and grow like normal children. With good observation and watch on the child’s growth and development, parents can conclude whether or not their child has developmental issues. It is true that premature babies most commonly face developmental issues both mentally and physically, but there are certain cases of miraculous survival of preemies and normal growth, just like full term infants. So there should not be a low perspective when it comes to premature birth. With medical care, observation and lots of positive attitude, life can be normal and healthy for premature babies too.