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Effects of being born prematurely shouldn’t have to last forever


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THE high survival rate of premature babies is one of the success stories of modern medicine. Over the past 15 years, more and more babies have survived being born earlier and earlier in their development.

But the outlook is not entirely positive. As those preterm babies grow up, subtle, long-term effects of being born early are becoming apparent (see “Premature birth: How its effects can stay with you for life“). The result of this precious lost time in the womb is a largely unrecognised epidemic of social, emotional and educational difficulties. In a typical class of 30 children, four will have been born before 36 weeks gestation, and chances are at least one will struggle as a result.

That is, of course, a price worth paying for life, especially because the problems can largely be ameliorated. But as yet, there is no formal system for identifying preterm children as they enter school, nor any special provision for their needs. Teachers are widely aware that the problem exists, but don’t usually have the training or resources to intervene.

Given how much we invest in acute care – it costs £250,000 to fund a preterm infant’s stay in a neonatal unit – there is a clear case for finding extra resources to support them as they get older. We can, and should, make up for that lost time.

 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2077791-effects-of-being-born-prematurely-shouldnt-have-to-last-forever/

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You know, I have given this thought. Those teeny, tiny babies will have issues because they didn't get to mature in the womb. I have never seen, "premature birth" as a defined disability. With medical science as it is, so many are  able to live. But, you are right. I am not aware of a formal diagnosis.  

Other diagnosed illnesses, there is usually an organization that steps up to the plate to be an advocate, and understanding of that diagnosis is a part of the care program. 

But, for us, it is not a life sentence. Yes, a flag should go up when a child spends the first part of its life in a neonatal unit , receiving special care. 

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