Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prematurity Awareness Month

A lot of my preemie mom friends have been posting preemie stats on their facebook pages. I've not really been able to keep up with this, but thought I would post some of these stats here:

  • 1 in 8 babies are born premature (born before 37 weeks). That’s 543,000 babies per year. 5000 never make it home.
  • Premature birth is the #1 killer of newborn infants.
  • More than 70% of premature babies are born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation, 12% are born between 32-33 weeks, 10% are born between 28-31 weeks and 6% at less than 28 weeks gestation.
  • The first "NICU-like" units were designed more as circus shows. Martin Couney, the man who brought them to the United States, called them "child hatcheries." These were shown at commercial exhibitions, complete with babies inside, until the mid 1940s. Soon after, the first hospital NICU opened. Unconventional, but I guess I owe a lot to him!
  • The NICU did not exist until the early 1960s and the specialty of neonatology did not begin until the 1970s. These special units were established soon after the death of President John F. Kennedy's newborn son, who died of respiratory distress and immature lungs. He was born at t...hirty-four weeks gestation.
  • Did you know that Stevie Wonder was born premature and NOT blind? Because he was given high levels of oxygen to sustain his life, he developed ROP, or Retinopathy of Prematurity. Very premature babies don't have properly formed blood vessels in the retina and sudden exposure to oxygen is believed to cut off further blood vessel formation.
  • What do these people have in common:
  • Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Napoleon Bonaparte, Stevie Wonder, Sir Winston Churchill and Ana Pavlova? They were ALL born premature! Preemies turn out to be all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for certain - premature children are continuously growing up and going on to make history in all aspects of our world.
  • There are 3 birth weight categories for preemies. An ELBW (Extremely low birth weight) baby weighs between 500-1000 grams. A VLBW (Very low birth weight) baby weighs between 1000-1500 grams and a LBW (Low birth weight) baby weighs between 1500-2000 grams. Elisa weighed 1265 grams at birth and falls in the VLBW category.
  • Kangaroo Care Therapy was developed in South America. It began when sick, premature babies were given back to their moms to spend their final moments because there was nothing left to do. They found that those babies were able to "bounce ...back" from the skin-to-skin c...ontact that helped to regulate their temperature, slow their heart rates, and improve respiration
  • Just because a mom has a preemie does NOT mean she did something unhealthy during her pregnancy! Many preemies are born without a cause and dr's never find out why. Being a preemie mom does NOT make you a bad mommy.

1 comment:

MoDBarb said...

Thank you so much for your very informative post. I'm glad you are participating in Bloggers Unite on Nov. 17th. We need to keep the momentum going to spread the word about prematurity. We're getting there! Thanks again.