“Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity-the leading cause of neonatal death.” This past weekend was World Preemie Day, on November 17th. Prematurity is defined as being born at or before 37 weeks gestation age.
In today’s world, I see more and more of a desire amongst moms-to-be to finish off pregnancy as early as possible. Of course, who wants to be huge and uncomfortable and STILL pregnant! I can completely understand where this mindset comes from. Having just had my fourth child who arrived a few days past his due date, I completely understand those feelings of tired of being pregnant and ready to meet your little baby. However, there are risks associated with prematurity and due dates really are an estimation so it is important to know the facts and be careful when deciding on an early induction date. Infants born before 37 weeks are still developing their lungs and immune systems and are more likely to develop infections or respiratory problems. Surprisingly, “79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection.” One of these viruses is known as RSV – respiratory syncytial virus. Nearly all children will contract RSV by the age of two and experience relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, when a preemie is exposed to RSV, their underdeveloped lungs and lack of antibodies to fight off the infection can lead to a serious respiratory infection!
There is no treatment for RSV so parents should be careful to take preventative steps, especially during RSV season in the winter months. Steps you can take to help include washing hands, toys, and bedding frequently. Be sure friends and family members wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer. Avoid large crowds and those who have been sick recently. Finally, never let anyone smoke near your baby.
Call your doctor immediately if you notice one or more of the following symptoms in your child: severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth or under the fingernails; high fever and extreme fatigue.
Have you had a personal experience with RSV? Help spread the word to keep infants well this winter. Find more information at RSVProtection.com.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.