A new research has revealed that most of the premature babies live a healthy life as adults without any kind of major illnesses. Nearly 2.5 million prematurely born children were studied for this and it was found that more than 50% of them did not have any serious medical problems in their adulthood.
Dr. Casey Crump, the study author said that there are many long term risks associated with preterm births like lung, heart, and neurological as well as mental disorders. He said that most of the previous studies focused on the negative outcomes and failed to look at their good health in adulthood. It has been seen from the findings that people who were born prematurely could also lead a healthy and resilient life with overall good function in their adulthood. However the case is not the same for extremely premature babies who were born between 22-27 weeks. It was found that only 22% of these premature babies did not have much health problems in adulthood.
Birth that occurs before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy is called as preterm birth. 28-33 weeks is termed as very preterm, 34-36 weeks is called late preterm, 37-38 weeks is termed as early preterm and 39-41 weeks is full-term. Crump said that third trimester is critical as far as the fetal growth is concerned. Normal growth as well as maturation of fetal organs is interrupted by preterm birth. About 11% of the babies are born prematurely worldwide and 95% of the underdeveloped babies survive successfully into adulthood because of medical advancements.
Data for the latest study was collected from the birth data from Sweden over the period from 1973-1997 and about 6% were premature babies. The health of these children between 18-43 years was studied by the researchers. The researchers looked for conditions like asthma, diabetes, high levels of blood pressure, kidney diseases, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and mental conditions. Crump said that prematurely born people can improve their overall long-term health by practicing a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining normal weight and avoiding smoking and other such bad habits.
The director of neonatology at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, Dr. Deborah Campbell said that more focus should be given to the care of pregnant moms.