Premature babies: too early to be born

Every year Unicef ​​celebratesPremature Week, a celebration tribute to all those brave little babies who have survived despite being born early. The chances of survival when these premature babies are born low-weight and still undeveloped are increasing.

Medical science and technology have joined hands again to protect the lives of these brave men. It is estimated that, in general,66 percent of premature babies survive weighing less than 1,500 grams at birth. However, approximately 4 out of 10 high-risk premature babies who survive suffer from some type of sequela such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy or some other disability.

High-risk premature babies represent the most vulnerable group of all live births. They belong to this group boys and girls who were born with less than 1,500 grams. In fact, only 7 out of 10 exceed the first 30 days and 4 out of 10 of those who survive the first month of life will suffer some kind of sequel.

Currently, the main cause of death in children under 5 years of age is premature delivery, which is the one that occurs before 37 weeks of gestation. The highest percentage of preterm deliveries occurs from week 34 of gestation, these cases being less severe, since the survival percentage is higher. In contrast, a high percentage of children who survive a birth before week 34 are left with permanent and disabling neurological sequelae.

So far, and despite the important advances in obstetrics and neonatology, the annual rate of preterm birth has been maintained in recent decades at 9 percent of births globally. And, according to specialists, the results of the new neonatal therapies only manage to benefit mainly those premature babies born after 28 weeks of gestation.

However, we are in luck. Apart from cervical cerclage, which sutured the cervix together to prevent premature birth, the use of vaginal progesterone has been shown to reduce the risk of premature birth in 45 percent of patients. It is also a prophylactic treatment, but in order to carry it out, the pregnancy at risk must have been identified through tests of screening between weeks 20 and 24 of gestation.

Marisol New.

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Video: Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise. KQED QUEST (January 2022).