A Promising Future for Premature Babies
Premature babies are at risk of developing a number of scary complications. When a baby is born too early, its organs are not fully developed and the baby is not ready for life outside of the safety of the womb. Therefore, it may be difficult for the baby to thrive.
In some cases, it is hard to predict whether a baby will be born premature. However, there are certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely. Mothers who have had premature babies in the past, a pregnancy with multiples, smoking, drug use, certain infections, and preeclampsia all increase the risk of premature birth.
Premature babies are those that are born before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature babies commonly need to stay in the hospital a bit longer than babies that are born full-term. In addition, premature babies are at risk of suffering from long-term health problems. In the United States, about 10 percent of babies are born prematurely.
New technology is promising for premature babies. In the past, doctors paid extremely close attention to the breathing of premature babies, hoping that by monitoring, supporting, and optimizing neonatal respiration, they would optimize cerebral blood flow. But new technology being developed in Europe offers the hope of measuring more directly blood flow and oxygenation in the brains of premature (and full term) babies. The technology uses optics, red and infrared lights that shine on a newborn’s head and allow doctors to “see” through body tissue without invasive tests or MRIs, which can themselves cause problems.
Scientists using the technology at one hospital in Italy hope to have it available to other hospitals in three to five years. Clinical test results should be published in the next few months. Physicians are optimistic that the technology will help thousands of babies every year once it is widely available.
At The Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio birth injury attorneys hold medical professionals accountable when they cause birth complications, including premature births. To schedule a free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.