Preterm birth myths

Health

How will a preterm birth affect your baby? Today we’re separating fact from fiction.

About 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely in the United States.

There can be feelings of guilt and confusion for parents. But what is fact and what is fiction?

Myth number one: You caused this. In reality, up to 50 percent of preterm births have no known cause.

Myth number two: Preemie babies will grow up normally. Doctor Elovitz says it depends on how early they’re born.

Michal Elovitz, MD, Director, Maternal and Child Health Research Center, University of Pennsylvania said, “So, a 24 weeker may survive, but its chance of having really severe neural development disability is quite high.”

Even babies born a few weeks later may have issues.

Doctor Elovitz said, “So, what we’re finding now is kids that are born even at 30 or 32 weeks or 34 weeks have neural development problems as well. They may not be as severe, but they are present.”

Myth number three: You can’t bond with your baby while in the NICU. Participate in skin-to-skin contact, read to, and help with feeding and changing diapers if possible, and leave behind items from home that have your scent.

Even though 50 percent of preterm births are unexpected and not caused by the mother, there are risk factors to be aware of.

Having pregnancies back to back, being pregnant with twins, having high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or being underweight or overweight are some signs you might be at risk for preterm labor.

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