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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Most preemie babies have perfectly normal hearing but there is a small increase in risk for preterm infants who have been particularly unwell.

Hearing Loss

The major risk for hearing impairment is heredity but immaturity (preterm birth) is also a risk factor.

Preemie babies are also more vulnerable to infections, asphyxia, and hyperbilirubinemia, which are also risk factors for hearing impairment.

Hearing Loss in Preemies: Incidence

For preterm infants the prevalence of high frequency hearing loss ranges from 0.8 to 7%, compared with approximately 0.1-0.3% in children born full term.

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

For very preterm infants, variables that indicate a severe respiratory course, such as duration of ventilation and oxygen treatment, are associated with sensorineural hearing loss.


Technical Reference List

Doyle, L. W. (2001). Outcome at 5 years of age of children 23 to 27 weeks' gestation: refining the prognosis. Pediatrics, 108(1), 134-141.
Fily, A., Pierrat, V., Delporte, V., Breart, G., & Truffert, P. (2006). Factors associated with neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years after very preterm birth: the population-based Nord-Pas-de-Calais EPIPAGE cohort. Pediatrics, 117(2), 357-366.
Hille, E. T. M., van Straaten, H. I., Verkerk, P. H., & Dutch, N. N. H. S. W. G. (2007). Prevalence and independent risk factors for hearing loss in NICU infants. Acta Paediatrica, 96(8), 1155-1158.
Hintz, S. R., Kendrick, D. E., Stoll, B. J., Vohr, B. R., Fanaroff, A. A., Donovan, E. F., et al. (2005). Neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes of extremely low birth weight infants after necrotizing enterocolitis. Pediatrics, 115(3), 696-703.
Marlow, E. S., Hunt, L. P., & Marlow, N. (2000). Sensorineural hearing loss and prematurity. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 82(2), F141-144.
Msall, M. E. (2006). Neurodevelopmental surveillance in the first 2 years after extremely preterm birth: evidence, challenges, and guidelines. Early Human Development, 82(3), 157-166.
Wilson-Costello, D., Friedman, H., Minich, N., Siner, B., Taylor, H. G., Schluchter, M., et al. (2007). Improved neurodevelopmental outcomes for extremely low birth weight infants in 2000-2002. Pediatrics, 119(1), 37-45.



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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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