“Baby born at 1 pound now a thriving 5-year-old” “Barely over a pound when born, miracle baby will go home” These are just two of the headlines that have crossed the wires in the past week. And while they convey the hope and possibilities now available to babies born too soon in the developed world, they fail to paint an accurate picture of premature birth.
Premature birth has become the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, killing 1.1 million infants worldwide. In the United States and other developed countries, medical interventions are able to save many preterm babies, resulting in the “miracle baby” stories we see each week. The story that’s rarely reported is that these babies often face a lifetime of disability that may include cerebral palsy, brain injury, or respiratory, vision, hearing, learning, and developmental problems. The impact on families is huge; economic turmoil from medical bills, lost wages if a parent is needed full-time at-home to address the medical challenges, and emotional strain from managing the situation. Read full post »