Risks associated with premature birth

For more than 7 months you have been carrying around that big belly and when it gets to the last month you may feel worn out. You want the struggle to end and finally see the face of your baby. So thinking about it, you might feel that it is a good idea to accelerate the process and get the baby out as soon as possible. Maybe you should think again. Did you know that there are risks involved for the health of your baby if you try to cut your pregnancy short by even one week?

The deputy medical director of the March of Dimes, Scott Berns, said it was believed for years that a baby coming out one or 2 weeks earlier was as ok as a baby coming out after 39 weeks. But based on the observations made for the past 10 years, experts do not believe that is true anymore. Berns said that babies born even just a couple of weeks earlier have a much greater chance of developing medical problems.

In today’s busy life even women have to plan their delivery day in a way that it doesn’t affect their schedule. For that matter more and more women are relying on artificially induced delivery instead of having to wait for labor to occur naturally. Between the years 1992 to 2004, artificially induced delivery has doubled. The number of babies given birth after 39 weeks is going down while the number of babies born between the 36th and the 38th week is increasing.

The fact that your baby feels heavy in your belly does not necessarily mean that all the organs have finished developing and it might require some few weeks before the baby is fully ready to deal with the real world. According to Berns, such early babies have a higher risk of death because they have higher risk of infection. The brain of those babies may not be fully developed and so is their lungs.

Babies born a few weeks earlier are often thinner. That makes it difficult for them to stay warm. The risks of having hearing and vision problems throughout their lives is also high. Because their lungs may not be fully formed they may also be having breathing problem and a good number of them end up at the intensive care unit.

There are situations where early delivery is the right option though
It can happen that based on certain circumstances, the doctor himself may suggest to a woman to go for an induced labor and deliver earlier. For example in the case of preemclampsia or diabetes that might be necessary. Maybe the baby is not growing or the woman’s water broke out. In those situations the best choice is to let the baby out.

Berns pointed out that statistics are saying 90% of women believe it is ok to deliver a baby before the 39 weeks. That is quite a considerable number. So to help change their minds the March of Dimes started an educational campaign. Berns said when parents realize how critical the latest weeks are, they usually decide to wait and allow nature to finish what is started. A healthy baby is worth more than an unhealthy one, even if it means waiting for 2 more weeks.