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Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Parents of premature babies worry more about about their child’s development, and this can translate into long-term stress.
According to new research, parents of preterm children (born at least seven weeks early) felt greater stress when their kids began misbehaving later in life than parents of full-term children.
Researchers measured (pre-term and full-term) children’s behaviors and intelligence levels at 7-years-old, and used questionnaires to determine parents’ stress levels. “After accounting for child behavior problems, IQ, gender, and the parents’ coping styles, the study found that parents were more likely to be stressed if their child acted out,” reports Reuters. The stress was especially evident when parents of preemies didn’t discipline their kids, especially if they were girls.
A difference in coping methods was also found — while preterm parents tended to use avoidance, parents of full-term children were more likely to use constructive-problem solving methods. Not surprisingly, the study pointed out that parents who were given support to deal with parenting challenges were less likely be overwhelmed.
The authors did note their uncertainty about whether a child behavior issues caused the stress, or if it was a result of bad behavior. Also according to Reuters, “mothers of children who act out already have higher stress levels and may play and interact with their children less than mothers whose kids behave…Having a preemie with medical complications may just make those interactions worse.”
Mark Linden, the study’s first author, suggests support groups, telephone help lines, or regular visits to the family general practitioner as resources to help parents find the best way to cope. Whatever the cause of parental stress may be, one thing’s for certain: it will likely have a negative effect on children unless addressed right away.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Stressed mother via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Not all births—especially premature births—are created equal. But in early December, a baby boy who was born 26 weeks premature amazed everyone.
The doctors at Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles delivered Silas Johnson via C-section, and—much to their surprise—he was still fully encased in his mother’s amniotic sac. This is called an en caul birth and only happens once in every 80,000 births. This type of birth is so rare because, even in C-sections, “doctors frequently pierce through the sac as they make their incision to remove the baby,” reports Time.
In some cases, an amniotic sac may be intentionally left intact to protect a premature baby during delivery, but the doctors at Cedars-Sinai had not planned for this outcome.
“It was a moment that really did, even though it’s a cliché: we caught our breath. It really felt like a moment of awe,” said William Binder, M.D., who delivered the baby. “This was really a moment that will stick in my memory for some time.” He even took a moment to snap a photo of Johnson perfectly curled up in the fetal position.
A baby born en caul will continue to receive oxygen through the placenta, but only for a short amount of time, so doctors (or a midwife) need to puncture the sac soon after birth.
Johnson is doing well and is set to head home in less than a month.
Check out more real-life birth stories!
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn
Image: Screenshot of baby Silas courtesy of a CNN video
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Parenting News, Parents News Now
Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Each year nearly one in eight babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks) in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which puts them at a higher risk for a number of health issues later in life.
But now, scientists at Queen Mary University and University College London have identified the chemical chain of events that they believe causes the preterm premature rupture of the fetal membrane (PPROM)—the condition that accounts for 40 percent of all preterm births.
Published in Placenta, scientists found through testing that stretching the amniotic membrane leads to the overproduction of the hormone-like compound prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which in turn activates the protein connexin 43 (Cx43) decreasing the mechanical properties of the membrane, all of which can potentially lead to rupture and preterm birth.
This is the first study of its kind and the next step, researchers say, is to find a treatment that would actually repair the amniotic membrane.
“To have potentially found a way to reduce pre-term births and prevent early deaths of young babies worldwide is incredibly exciting,” study co-author Dr. Tina Chowdhury said in a news release. “This gives us an understanding of both the mechanical as well as biological mechanisms involved and will help us to develop therapies that will reduce the number of preterm births.”
Should your early contractions raise a red flag? Go here to learn more about premature labor.
Photo of preemie baby courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
A review of research on preterm babies reveals that super-early preemies (those born between the 22 and 25 weeks gestation) face significant health risks years later. Compared with full-term babies, these preemies had increased risk of neurological problems at 4 to 8 years of age. Care of premature infants continues to improve, but this review points to the importance of trying to keep babies in the womb as long as possible, TIME.com reports.
More from TIME.com:
It’s not the first hint that preemies are at higher risk of health issues for being born before their development was completed. Some recent studies showed, for example, that babies who were born earlier had poorer test scores in reading and math compared with those born full term. A study published in 2011 that analyzed the long-term effects of premature birth on cognitive abilities such as memory and attention span in early adulthood revealed that people who were born extremely premature performed worse on executive function tests and took longer to complete higher-order intellectual tasks. As adults, these individuals also scored an average of 8.4 points lower on IQ assessments compared with people who were born at full term.
The fact that the effects of premature birth last into adulthood is concerning, since they are not only at a disadvantage in some cognitive functions, they even have a reportedly higher risk of death in early adulthood as well. Advancements in care of premature babies have undoubtedly improved, but lessening their health risks is still a task at hand. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University College London Institute for Women’s Health reported that death rates and health problems among extremely preterm babies has remained unchanged for decades.
While the parents of preemies may find this news less-than-reassuring, this research can help children by giving “parents and clinicians a heads-up for what to look out for during development,” TIME.com says.
Image: Premature baby’s foot, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
NYU Langone Medical Center in Lower Manhattan, out of power from both main sources and backup generators and facing 10-12 feet of water in the wake of the superstorm Sandy, evacuated all patients yesterday and this morning, including its newborns and ill babies. Hospital staff carried the young patients down 9 flights of stairs to evacuate them safely from the building, as CNN.com reports:
The evacuation was moving more slowly than expected, according to hospital spokeswoman Lisa Grenier. About 40 patients remained to be evacuated at 9 a.m. Tuesday, she said. Brotman said earlier that he anticipated the evacuation would last until around 6:30 a.m.
The dawn of a new day, however, brought some help. “At least there’s daylight coming in through the windows,” Grenier said.
Four of the newborns were on respirators that were breathing for them, and when the power went out, each baby was carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the baby’s lungs.
“This is a labor-intensive, extremely difficult process,” Brotman said.
Image: Emergency stairs, via Shutterstock
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