Most babies born at full gestation is around 38-42 weeks, their organs are fully developed. But not little babies born prematurely.
More than 90 percent of premature babies born weighing 800 grams or more could survive, whereas if it weighs about 500 grams or more have only 40-50 per cent chance of living.
Infants born prematurely do have health risks due to underdeveloped organs optimally. According to Kidshealth, there are some risks that might occur in premature infants.
This condition usually affects approximately 80 percent of premature babies. Premature babies have high levels of bilirubin, thus developing jaundice. Besides thath, the high bilirubin can also cause brain damage, therefore premature infants with jaundice must be continuously monitored and treated quickly.
Apnea (stop breathing)
Apnea is a common health problem in premature infants, this occurs because the less mature regions of the brain that control impulse to breathe. Usually the baby stopped breathing, heart rate decreases and the skin can become pale, purple or blue for a while. To handle it, stimulate the baby to resume breathing, but if the case occurs too often, it is necessary to take medicines.
Many premature infants lack the number of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in anemia. In the first few weeks of life, babies do not make new red blood cell. Some premature infants needs transfusions of red blood cells.
Low blood pressure
This condition is caused by various things such as infection, blood loss, loss of fluids or drugs given to the mother before birth. Usually this condition is treated by increasing fluid intake, prescription drugs or blood transfusion.
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
One most common problem is difficulty of breathing, and most often caused by respiratory distress syndromes (RDS). In this condition the baby’s lungs have not fully developed so there are not enough to produce an important substance called surfactant. To deal with infant usually assisted with breathing machine or ventilator for a while or use of artificial surfactant.
This condition is a common problem in the lungs of premature newborns, especially if it weighs less than 1,000 grams. Several things can cause this condition such as infection, extreme prematurity and prolonged use of ventilator breaths.
Infection is the biggest threat to premature babies because the baby is still less able to fight germs that enters the body. These infections can come from the mother before birth, during childbirth or after birth. One way to reduce the risk of infections is to maintain hygiene, especially hand washing for babies.
Patent ductus arteriosus
Ductus arteriosus is a short blood vessel that connects the main blood vessels supplying the lungs to the aorta (main blood vessel leaving the heart). Functions on the not yet born baby is to allow blood to pass through the lungs, because oxygen to the blood comes from the mother. In infants, this blood vessel is long and will soon close after birth. But in premature infants often remain opened, causing breathing difficulties and sometimes heart failure.
Eye injury or blindness
Eye in premature infants are particularly vulnerable to injury after birth. One serious complication is retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which is the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eyes of a baby. Approximately 7 percent of babies born weighing 1250 grams or less develop ROP and damages ranging from minus eye to blindness. Until now the cause is not known with certainty. Therefore examination 1-2 days after the birth of premature babies is very important.