If you are thinking of becoming a parent of a micro preemie, here are some tips to keep in mind. You’ll learn about possible health problems, complications, and life expectancy of micro preemies. You’ll also learn about care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Health problems of micro preemies are more common than one might think. These tiny babies cannot suckle well and have trouble coordinating breathing, sucking, and swallowing. As a result, they are fed via external feeding tubes which go from the mouth to the stomach. Because they lack the ability to process nutrients and waste products, they need continuous IV access to vital medicines such as antibiotics. The following list of health problems of micro preemies will provide a brief overview of some of these problems.
Respiratory distress and infection are common problems in micro preemies. Their blood vessels do not fully form at birth, so they grow quickly and may damage the retina. This condition may go away on its own or require surgery. Infections, including sepsis, are also common problems in premature babies. Some may even develop chronic lung diseases, including asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. While these conditions are often temporary, some may have lifelong effects.
Lungs are the last organ to develop in a newborn, so most micro-preemies have underdeveloped lungs when they arrive. Ventilators may be needed to assist breathing for premature babies, which can cause serious damage to the fragile lungs. Affected babies may exhibit symptoms like flaring nostrils, fast breathing, grunting, and chest retractions. Long-term health problems of micro-preemies may be more difficult to identify and treat, but these complications are preventable and often curable.
Long-term health problems are common in micro preemies. These babies are more prone to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems, and even anxiety and shyness. NICU staff will teach parents about these health concerns before releasing them from the hospital. Despite the high rate of recovery, some micro-premies can still miss developmental milestones. Fortunately, positive parenting will help them catch up.
One of the major health problems of micro preemies is heart murmur. Their lungs are not fully developed and the linings of their bowels become infected. This is known as necrotizing enterocolitis. Treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis includes IV fluids, respiratory support, and surgery. When possible, preemies should be delivered at a level three NICU.
As a new parent, you’re probably familiar with the many complications associated with micro-preemies. These babies are born before 28 weeks gestation, weigh less than one thousand grams, and are subject to a range of life-threatening problems. In addition to the inconveniences of being a micro-preemie, they also often have additional physical complications that can be difficult to detect. During my son’s three and a half month stay in the NICU, I began reading about the common health conditions that affect these babies.
Most micro-preemies require external ventilation. These devices include ventilators, oxygen hoods, and nasal cannulas. Sometimes, an endotracheal tube is inserted into the baby’s airway to serve as an interface between the ventilator and the baby. These tubes pass through the vocal cords and out of the mouth. Alternatively, a mask is placed over the mouth of a micro-preemie and continuous positive airway pressure is used to give the baby independent breathing.
Although micro-preemies may experience short-term complications that require hospitalization, most of these conditions are easily treatable. Their doctors will monitor them closely in the NICU. Parents will need to continue monitoring during their child’s stay, even though the complications they’re facing are relatively minor. But long-term complications, such as a heart murmur, are also common among micro-preemies. In some cases, you’ll only need to get your baby to the NICU a few times.
Among the most common complications of micro-preemies is respiratory syncytial disease. Respiratory syncytial disease (RSV) is a common complication of preterm infants, and it affects the baby’s body movements, posture, and balance. Some micro-premies also suffer from digestive problems, and they have an increased risk of developing serious pathologies.
If an early diagnosis of sepsis is made, this condition can be treated and save a child’s life. Parents should learn the symptoms of sepsis and seek medical treatment if they suspect their child has sepsis. An illustrator named Gloria Aguilar has created a mascot character called Bug for the Sepsis Alliance, which features PSAs, coloring sheets, and other resources.
The life expectancy of micro preemies is often questioned, particularly as these infants are considered to be very premature. There have been several changes in the number of survivors in recent years, including advances in medical science and technology. While the survival rates for micro preemies have improved, medical professionals worry that these statistics may give parents of preemies false hope. Regardless of the progress made in medical science, there are still many challenges facing NICUs. In fact, a child born at 22 weeks may have a fifty to seventy percent chance of developing a neurodevelopmental disability. Other possible disabilities include vision, hearing, and cognitive impairment.
In addition to limiting the physical growth of the child, the underlying causes of prematurity have also been discovered. Micro preemies are susceptible to breathing problems, respiratory issues, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. They also may develop chronic lung diseases, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia. These complications can make it difficult for the newborn to survive and develop normally. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Survival rates of micro preemies have improved considerably in the last 20 years. Even with such improvements, the rates of disabilities remain very high. Still, even the smallest micro preemies will have a lower life expectancy than their full-term counterparts. Fortunately, there is much that parents can do for their preemies, including singing and speaking to them in the NICU. Even the sound of their own voice can comfort a micro preemie.
The level of care a baby receives also makes a huge difference in their chances of survival. For example, the EPICure 2 study, conducted in 2006, showed that the levels of care for babies born at twenty-four weeks gestation, level one intensive neonatal care, and level two intensive care facilities, varies widely. This could be a contributing factor to the lack of survival rates. However, the study’s results are not conclusive.
While a small number of preemies do survive into adulthood, the majority do not have major disabilities. Despite this, the children of these babies often report a high quality of life and high levels of functioning. Whether it’s a medical condition or an environmental factor, the life expectancy of micro preemies is not far from what it is for full-term babies. And because of the increased risk of disability, some procedures and drugs are being tested to increase the gestational age.