Long-Term Effects of Being a Premature Baby

If your baby came into the world before its due date you might be concerned at how small and fragile it appears. You might wonder about the long-term effects of being born prematurely.

60% of premature babies who are born weighing less than 800 grams show normal neurological improvement at the age of 20 months. But, as age and weight increase, so do the risks.


Learning Problems:

One of the most common effects of being premature is problems with learning. These effects don’t usually show up until the child starts school. Learning problems in math are most common while problems in reading and vocabulary are not so common.

Sight and Hearing Problems:

Premature babies can also run the risk of retinopathy of prematurity which could cause blindness. With early detection this can be easily cured.

Feeding Problems:

Generally, premature babies are not able to be breastfed. Usually they are fed through a tube into either the nose or mouth for the first few weeks. This can cause longer term feeding problems due to their system getting accustomed to only small amounts of food at one time.

Respiratory Problems:

Some common illnesses amongst premature babies are asthma, bronchitis and croup. Another more high risk illness is called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and it could result in the need for extra oxygen.

What Can You Do as Parents?

From the beginning your baby will be special. They must be under the care of a good pediatric doctor. It is important you keep all scheduled appointments. Medical personnel have vast experience dealing with premature babies and will help you through the various stages of development.

When your child reaches school age, watch for signs of any learning difficulties so you can intervene right away to help and support your child.

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