In this parenting tips video learn some practical advice, and encouraging information for parents of premature babies.
Female: It's a rough road to be sure and expectant mother does everything by the book. Not so much as one glass of wine or a single puff from a cigarette. Together, she and her husband are a case study in the best possible prenatal care. Then suddenly one, tow, three, even four months before the blessed event their baby decided to make an early appearance. And quickly, their absolute best intentions are thoroughly overturned. Michelle: It was scary. There is no other way you can describe having a baby with wires. Female: Every year, about 11% of the babies born in the United States are born prematurely. Michelle Dracker is representative of many mothers who have premature babies. Michelle: About all the time that I was pregnant, you know you're thinking of a six, seven pound baby. To have a child, the first time you see him, he’s got a tube down his throat, he’s got wires all over him. A cord to text to their toes, you know basically Michael was 13 inches long. He was born at seven 11 grams which is about one pound nine ounces at 27 weeks two days. Female: As it turned out, her son Michael was just the first of two premature babies. Her daughter Alexandra followed in her brother’s footsteps about a year and a half later. Michelle: Alexandra who was born at 2 ½ pounds, 1160 grams which you know is still seem small but when you compare it to Michael it's huge. Female: While premature infants may need extra care at first, most of them will usually catch up with their peers in height and weight by the time they reach two years of age. In fact 80% of babies born after the 30th weeks of pregnancy will have no long term health or developmental problems at all. Still since premature babies are born before they are physically ready to leave the womb, they may face a wide variety of medical problems. Underdeveloped lungs and underdeveloped liver, low body weight and underdeveloped eyes, some of the more common health issues include jaundice, maintaining the proper body temperature and respiratory distress syndrome or RDS. Many times the causes for premature birth are unknown. While other times the causes are all too familiar. Male: Mother’s who smoke deliver premature babies. That's one of the problems with smoking. And indeed mother’s whoa re in houses where secondary smoke is tend to have somewhat increased risk of premature babies. Female: Other reasons for premature birth include problems with the mother’s cervix, urinary tract infections, and infection of the membrane lining the womb. Additionally, some families have a history of having premature births without any apparent problems at all. Multiple births are another factor. Male: Multiple births will cause premature birth because there are too many babies and too small space and they want out if you will. You know they’re knocking at the doors, it's crowded in here. Female: In Michelle’s case, she suffered from a condition called preeclampsia which meant her blood pressure increased enough to put her baby in danger. Michelle: You're thinking to yourself “what could I have done differently” you know and in a way yeah, you beat yourself up because you're like I was—tracking your in a blast 27 weeks going what was wrong and when I found out they’re talking to the doctors that in reality there really wasn’t much I could have done to change it at that point. Female: As difficult as it may seem at times, the vast majority of premature births have very happy endings. Michelle: You know you can read about it. You hear about it. These children, they get bigger, they better. They play. They walk just like any other kid. You know once you see him out there, you're not going to see that they’re any different than any other kid.