There's this very interesting new study from The National Institutes of Health regarding which infants are more likely to thrive...
There's this very interesting new study from The National Institutes of Health regarding which infants are more likely to thrive and survive, even when born premature. The study looked at over 4,000 infants and was able to narrow down not only the factors that influence a premature baby's ability to survive but also the factors that influence disability. Researchers looked at babies born between the 22nd and 25th weeks - which is of course, very early. Earlier studies already show that gestational age plays a large role in the infant's survival. This is why many facilities, focus their intensive care on infants born in the 25th week of pregnancy, whereas infants born in the 22nd week of pregnancy receive comfort care. The problem with the above is that gestational age is not always accurate - in some cases it's impossible to figure true gestational age, so intensive care may not be focused on babies who might benefit. What this new research found is that babies are more likely to survive and have no advisabilities if:
  • The baby is an older gestational age.
  • The baby's mother had been given corticosteroids.
  • If the infant is female.
  • If the baby is a single born, not a multiple.
  • The baby is a higher birthweight.
According to the NIH news release one of the doctors engaged in the study notes, "Many neonatal intensive care units base treatment decisions mainly on gestational age. We found that it's much more accurate if the assessment is based on the combination of 5 factors, rather than just on gestational age." What I find interesting about this whole study is the fact that they're making treatment goals around survival odds. As a parent, I can't imagine if I had a premature baby that I'd say, "Well, my baby doesn't fit the high survival odds, so let's not bother being aggressive in treatment." Of course I think that I'd want the doctors to everything possible for my baby, even if he didn't fit the profile. That said, I've never been in this situation so I suppose I can't know for sure. But having had one son with breathing problems at birth, I remember what that felt like - when they rushed him off to administer emergency care right after his birth, I hadn't even gotten to see him, and I remember thinking I'd do anything if he was just ok. What do you think? Have you been the parent of a premature baby? Did you want intensive help for your little one, no matter what?

Tags: intensive baby care intensive baby treatment premature infant survivial rates

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