What if it was your premature baby!

What if it was yours?

It always strikes me as disturbing how fierce arguments over the right time to let unborn babies live and the need to let premature babies die coincide at around 23 or 24 weeks.

Where termination is concerned, a 24-week old baby is considered too far developed to have its life snuffed out. At the same stage a premature baby is, apparently, too expensive to be allowed to live.

The BBC2 documentary 23 Weeks: The Price Of Life examined the arguments for leaving babies born at 23 weeks to pass away without resuscitation or medical intervention.

Behind the arguments effectively to bin life at its early stages is, of course, money.

The price of life is seemingly too high for the liking of some highly-paid NHS officials – like Dr Daphne Austin, for instance.

Doctor Austin, an adviser to local health trusts, says keeping early babies alive is only prolonging their agony.

Funds would be better spent on care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.

This concerning film did much to promote and support Dr Austin’s arguments – a bit of a worry in itself – which were anchored in cash.

She said the NHS was spending around £10m a year resuscitating babies born early and keeping them alive in incubators and on ventilators.

But despite round-the-clock care from teams of experienced doctors and nurses, just nine per cent left hospital – the rest died. And only one in 100 would grow up without some form of disability – the most common including blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.

One in 100. Is that one baby worth the expense and effort required for a fight for life?

It most definitely is, if it’s your baby.

First published at 08:57, Saturday, 12 March 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Anne Pickles


Premature babies battle for survival at ‘edge of life’

The NHS spends more than £10m a year on babies born at 23 weeks

Babies born prematurely in the 23rd week of pregnancy exist on the very edge of life. A few go on to become “miracle babies”, but most die. The figures are stark, only nine out of 100 will survive, and of that number most are disabled. Is it always right to keep them alive?

“I can’t really get my head round how they’ve managed to keep her alive.”

Lucy’s daughter Matilda was born four months early at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, weighing one pound one ounce.

Within 20 seconds of her birth, her tiny body was placed into a plastic bag to prevent her losing too much heat or moisture.

She was carefully transferred into an incubator and hooked up to tubes and gadgets. Cutting-edge technology has been keeping her alive for four weeks.

Had Matilda been born one week earlier at 22 weeks – she would usually have been considered a miscarriage.

One week later at 24 weeks, her chances of survival would be much higher.

Thanks to decades of improving medical science 23 weeks is now considered the “edge of viability”. It is one week less than the limit for abortion at 24 weeks. .. continue reading

By Adam Wishart

Documentary Maker, 23 Week Babies: The Price of Life

Why do other women resent me for having a fourth child?

When Lorraine told friends she was pregnant at 42, she was horrified by the sniping and jealousy it provoked. Why should only women like Posh Spice, Heidi Klum, Jules Oliver and Tana Ramsay, who have the money and lifestyle, be able to have larger families?

When I was younger, I never wanted ­children. Never fantasised about what my future family may look like as a teenager, or day-dreamed of baby names in quieter moments at work.

It’s not that I didn’t like children, but I could see how much they needed and the younger me wanted other things so much more.

Even when my little sister had a child at 27 the thought of ever having one of my own didn’t cross my mind; motherhood wasn’t the logical conclusion to my life.

Until I fell in love at 29. Then my world changed. Instead of seeing everything through a sort of selfish soft-focus I suddenly knew with complete clarity that I wanted a family.

The shift in my priorities was enormous. It was emotional and physical.

I was Editor of Cosmopolitan at the time — the job I had waited my whole career as a journalist for — but running alongside my ambition was my new and overwhelming need to start a family.

Author:  Lorraine Candy
Read the full story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1353032/Why-women-resent-having-fourth-child.html#ixzz1DRdpFSVA

Premature Babies More Sensitive to Pain

We learned that one in five Britons suffers chronic pain (a figure probably skewed by full-time TV reviewers). One suggestion was that premature babies in neo-natal units endure so many pain-related procedures during intensive care that the development of pain’s neural pathways is altered. Among chronic sufferers was 16-year-old Rachel, who was born prematurely and, following an accident aged 12, now feels pain that shifts from head, to feet, to arms to legs without respite. “You just want to take the pain yourself,” said her mum. The poor love: of course she does.


Source:  Guardian.co.uk

Author: Stuart Jeffries

Premature Baby Health Issues

Because a premature baby is early he/she is more prone to health problems.  These tiny premature babies often have underdeveloped lungs as well as other issues and as a result have higher rates of disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

Because of the various health concerns a premature baby is given medical assistance immediately after delivery. Depending on how prematurely a baby arrives he/she is likely to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), for assessment to determine his/her medical needs.

Premature baby Girl

Below are some of the more common conditions that occur in premature babies:

Respiratory Distress Syndrome
a breathing disorder related to the baby’s immature lungs.  Because a premature baby’s lungs frequently lack surfactant, a liquid substance that allows the lungs to remain expanded.  Artificial surfactants are often used to treat these tiny babies in conjunction with a ventilator to improve baby’s breathing and to help maintain sufficient oxygen levels in the blood.

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
is the medical term used to describe babies who require oxygen over a longer period of time.  The severity of this condition varies and as baby’s lungs mature they tend to outgrow the condition.

is the medical term given when the regular breathing rhythm is interrupted for more than fifteen seconds.  The condition is often is associated with a reduced heart rate, known medically as bradycardia. A pulse oximeter is used to measure oxygen saturation a drop in oxygen is known as de-saturation. The majority of babies outgrow the condition by the time they go home.

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
previously known as retrolental fibroplasia (RLF), is an eye disease that affects premature babies in which the retina is not fully developed. The majority of cases resolve without the need for treatment, although serious cases may require surgery. Both oxygen toxicity and relative hypoxia can contribute to the development of ROP.

is the result of a build in the baby’s blood of a chemical called Bilirubin. As a result of this build up the baby’s skin takes on a yellow tinge. Treating the condition involves placing the undressed baby under special lights whilst covering baby’s eyes to protect them from damage.



Brain development of premature babies


Image via Wikipedia

According to scientists measuring the development of a premature baby’s brain during the first few weeks of life can help determine whether or not a baby is likely to suffer mental and or physical development issues in the future.

Nearly half of all premature babies who survive being born before 30-week gestation go on to develop a mental or physical disability.  Gender also appears to play a significant role as baby born very premature were more likely to be affected than girls born at the same gestation.

While a foetus is in the womb the surface of their brain known medically as the cortex, should change in appearance from looking somewhat like a coffee bean to looking more like a walnut, however if a baby were born prematurely the above changes would take place outside of the womb.

The stress of premature birth combined with the stress of invasive medical care can greatly influence the brain development in premature babies resulting in a slower rate of brain growth.

By scanning and measuring the brain of premature babies, it may be possible to identify which babies are most likely to require development support later on.

The Transition From Cot To Bed

Making the transition from a cot to a single bed can be difficult for young children who feel safe and secure in their familiar cot so it is important to make the transition as enjoyable as possible.

Ideally you should aim to keep your little one in a cot for as long as possible, however generally by the age of 3 years, most toddlers will have moved from a cot to a single bed.  If your little one persists in attempting to climb out of their cot then it’s time to move to a single bed.

How well your toddler adjusts to the new sleeping arrangements will depend on their nature and temperament.  Some find the change easy while others take a long time to adjust to sleeping in a bed.  You can help your toddler cope with moving from his cot to a bed by making the bed inviting and fun.  Let your little one choose his own bedding, this will help him recognise the bed as his own little sanctuary.

Single bedding for Boys

Don’t rush the situation, if possible have the bed made up with the chosen bedding weeks before the initial move and encourage him to sit on the bed during story time.  The more inviting the bed appears the more likely the transition will be an easy one for both you and your toddler.

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