The future of your premature baby

Will mine Preemies have health problems?

The majority of children born after the 32nd week of gestation or who have a birth weight of more than 1200 g grow normal and healthy. This chapter discusses some potential problems that can occur if your child is born less than 1200 g or if complications occur. Therefore, do not think that every premature baby has to suffer like this. With support and therapies many development delays are balanced until school entry.

How good are our chances that no problems will occur?

The overwhelming majority, nine out of ten premature babies, grow up with no further health or developmental disabilities. The further the child is developed at birth, the lower the risk.

For example:

  • Born at the 32nd week of pregnancy, the risk of persistent disorder is 1 in 50
  • Born in the 28th week of pregnancy, the risk of persistent disorder is 1 in 10
  • When born on the 26th week of pregnancy, examinations assess the risk of persistent disorder (a serious vision or hearing problem, serious learning disabilities or cerebral disorders) between 1 in 4 and 1 in 10, although there is also a considerable chance of one or more minor disorders gives.

Growth Differences

Most low birthweight children include peers in terms of height. Very low birth weight children are likely to be smaller than their peers for several years. While most babies make up for the difference in size - two out of three in the first six months - others stay small all their lives.

According to a 1996 study of 249 premature eight-year-olds:

  • 11 of 12 had reached the average size
  • the children in the first two years almost completely made up for the size
  • those whose birth weight was the month of pregnancy in which they were born corresponded more to size than those perceived as too small for their age.
  • Twenty-four children with a serious health or developmental problem caught up the least in size.

Children who suffered from chronic lung disease (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) as babies are slow to gain weight. Most of them catch up with their peers, but those who were very small at birth or who had particularly serious lung disease tend to be smaller and lighter.

Developmental delays

It is helpful to count the age of a child from the calculated cut-off date, because developmental stages such as smiling, sitting, walking and speaking may be delayed in relation to the weeks it was born too early - and maybe even longer if the pregnancy was complicated. So you count on the corrected age.

A recent study, conducted on eight-year-old boys born before the 32nd week of pregnancy, states:

  • Those who were found to be small at birth were lagging in growth relative to mental and physical Development.
  • Among those whose birth weight corresponded to the month of pregnancy in which they were born, the number of weeks they were born too early was crucial to their physical development.

Development and Partial Disorders

Regular examinations have shown that a child with a persistent disorder should be treated sooner rather than later. IQ differences between low-birthweight children and those whose birth weight met the norm are rather rare. Studies suggest that in low-birthweight children, the average IQ is about seven points below that of normal birth weight children. One study found that the risk of serious learning disability in children with low birth weight was seven to eleven times higher than that of children of normal birth weight. Attention Deficit Disorder (with or without hyperactivity), facial twitching, awkwardness (dyspraxia), and speech disorders are more common in low birthweight children.

Preterm infants are more likely to experience partial performance problems, such as As reading-spelling weakness, spatial, acoustic or auditory perception disorders or dyscalculia (calculation weakness) on. A timely detection by developmental neurological examinations saves your child a lot of unnecessary suffering through fear of failure and teasing. Timely diagnosis can also be counteracted with appropriate therapies and discussed with the teachers prior to enrollment so that regulations can be made in performance tests. A higher school career is not endangered by partial performance weaknesses if a corresponding diagnosis has been confirmed.

Cerebral Disorders: Earlier, this brain disorder was referred to as minimal cerebral dysfunction - MCP - today it is called only cerebral disorder. The statistic says:

  • Every second child suffering from this disease is born with low birth weight (less than 1500 g).
  • At least one in twenty very low birthweight children suffers from cerebral disorders.
  • At less than 1000 g birth weight, the risk increases enormously.

The lower the birth weight, the more likely is a visual impairment, such as: As short-sightedness or hyperopia, astigmatism, strabismus and reduced three-dimensional vision, regardless of whether a premature infant retinopathy occurs or not. (Read more about retinopathy in premature birth in our article ""Early Challenges."") Preterm infants should have regular follow-up visits to the ophthalmologist and a sight school until they are enrolled.

Hearing problems are also more likely to affect low birth weight children, especially those with very low birth weight. Therefore, it makes sense to start regular hearing tests soon after birth.

A child born too early may have marbled or yellowish teeth.

Childhood Health Problems

A large-scale study of low birth-weight children found that those two years of age whose birth weight corresponded to the stage of physical development were at greater risk for asthma, wheezing and high-grade Blood pressure existed as among those who were small for their age. So a premature birth seems to be a greater risk than a growth delay. Hormone treatments can help boost the child's growth. Ask your pediatrician for possible treatments.

A recent European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) study shows that premature babies born before the 32nd week of gestation are particularly likely to have developmental disorders. The health problems persist into elementary age, many of the affected children are struggling with learning problems, including reading and writing difficulties.

Social Development

The social environment of a premature baby is crucial to its development. New studies show that the social environment in which a premature baby grows has a proven influence on the child's development. The decisive factor here is whether the parents support the child, regularly visit therapies, take medical and control appointments with specialists, etc. Similarly, develop premature infants demonstrably better if the family environment of the child is stable and no environmentally and socially harmful influences such as unemployment or Divorcing the family,

US studies show that premature babies are less likely to become addicted to peers than peers, but more likely to have peer-to-peer difficulties. Due to the frequent overprotection within the family, former preterm infants have difficulties to assert themselves, to develop self-confidence and to become independent. At home, they often command the family members because they have a special role within the family. However, if they leave the sheltered environment, they find it difficult to implement that self-confidence outside the family.Frequently, extreme delicacy and physical inferiority to peers also play a role. Boys suffer from physical inferiority, especially during puberty. Very small premature babies are also often late in puberty, which in turn can be emotionally stressful.

Reviewed by Silke Mader of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Enfants (EFCNI)

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