Preemie Issues - a quick look

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Preterm infants are at greater risk for both short and long term difficulties. The tinier and earlier a preemie is born the greater the risk for complications.


Preemie Babies are not just tiny...

Premature babies are not just tiny; they are at risk for a number of health concerns, including breathing difficulties, brain injury, eye disorders, infection, bowel problems and heart dysfunction.
The issues surrounding preterm birth can be complex but we have tried to cover everything you may want to know. If you have any questions please ask them in our forums.

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Preemies & Allergies

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is an immune system response to a food protein that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. If an individual eats food which, contains that harmful protein, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, triggering symptoms that can affect a their breathing, gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or heart.

Around 2% of Australians suffer from food allergies, which include in 20 children. The foods which are most common sources of food allergic reactions are; nuts, fish, crustacean (e.g. prawns, lobster, crab etc), eggs, milk, sesame, soy and wheat. There isn’t a cure for food allergies as yet, so avoidance this really the only strategy.

babies who were born prematurely or with low birth weight were not more likely to develop food allergies when compared with infants born full term and with normal birth weight.  Read more about Preemies & Allergies by

Common Symptoms of Food Allergies

Food sensitivities

The signs and symptoms of food sensitivities vary greatly depending on the body’s response and can include:

  • Allergic reactions (puffiness or dark circles under the eyes)
  • Nervousness, tremors
  • Breathing problems, like asthma
  • Bronchial infections
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Tightness across the face and chest
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eczema
  • Frequent infections
  • Rashes
  • Runny nose
  • Spitting up in infants
  • Vomiting

Mild to moderate allergic reaction

  • Tingling of the mouth
  • Hives, welts or body redness
  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyes
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain

Severe allergic reaction- ANAPHYLAXIS

  • Difficulty and/or noisy breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty talking or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Loss of consciousness and/or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (young children)

The key to alleviating a child’s symptoms is to pinpoint the sensitive or allergic food in question and eliminate it from the diet, either completely or for a period of time.

Premature Babies and Food Allergies

Due to the fact that premature babies’ have immature digestive tracts at birth, parents often wonder whether their preemie is at higher risk of food allergies. A recent large-scale study of infants born in Manitoba, Alberta, Canada in 1995 found that babies who were born prematurely or with low birth weight were not more likely to develop food allergies when compared with infants born full term and with normal birth weight. This is consistent with older studies about premature babies and food allergies.

(Liem et al., 2007)(Kumar et al., 2008)


Technical Reference List

Morse, S. B., Zheng, H., Tang, Y., & Roth, J. (2009). Early school-age outcomes of late preterm infants. Pediatrics, 123(4), e622-629. Petrini, J. R., Dias, T., McCormick, M. C., Massolo, M. L., Green, N. S., & Escobar, G. J. (2009). Increased risk of adverse neurological development for late preterm infants. Journal of Pediatrics, 154(2), 169-176.



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie Help is also looking to provide a resource for any professionals that have contact with preterm babies and children in order to help them best understand the challenges that face a preemie. Get in contact to help us impact preemies.

Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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