By Mike Espinoza
(CBS4) – One in 10 babies in the U.S. is born premature. November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a time to help support moms and babies and raise awareness of the prematurity health crisis.
Dr. Anna Zimmerman is a neonatalogist in Denver and says pre-term births happen and they are not the fault of moms. She says the conception in the U.S. is you get pregnant and you are going to have a healthy baby. Most of the time it goes that way for more than 90% of mothers. A pre-term baby is one that is born before 37 weeks. Babies born from 22 weeks up until 26 weeks are considered extremely preterm deliveries.
Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant mortality and the babies who survive can have short and long-term health problems.
Premature babies are cared for in the newborn intensive care unit. They require nursing specialists along with the equipment needed to care for preterm babies.
Some of the babies need help breathing and get that from a ventilator or a breathing tube. The babies also need special eye exams because a baby’s eyes don’t mature until past his or her due date.
Dr. Zimmerman says some babies can spend three to four months in the intensive care, and while it’s really difficult the majority of babies do really well. The outcomes are better today than they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago.