New studies show that children born just a few weeks earlier are exposed to a 6 times higher risk of dying in the first week of life and 3 times older than 3 years of age than children born at term. Reuters Health.
Children born in weeks 34-36 of pregnancy represent 71% of all premature births. Previous studies have shown that those children born just 1-3 weeks before are at increased risk of developing respiratory and feeding problems, jaundice, difficulty maintaining body temperature and developing brain problems. Many recent studies have shown that these children face problems that do not occur in children born at term.
The main cause of death of preterm infants was found to be birth defects. The risk of dying from congenital deformities is 4 times higher than in term babies.
But even if these causes are excluded, the death rate remains high. Other causes of death include septicemia, placenta complications, sudden death syndrome as well as other complications.
Experts say that lately, the increase in the number of multiple births has contributed to the increase in the number of children born in weeks 34-36. About half of the twins and 90% of the triplets are born prematurely.
The researchers say that physicians should use this information to make it easier to decide when to use birth control or caesarean section before the deadline is reached. The data show that the number of cesarean sections (30% of births) and induced births is increasing.
The researchers consider this data particularly important and want to be taken into consideration by doctors when making such a complicated decision. They say that even a few weeks matters.
November 15, 2007