For Australians expecting a baby, it is an exciting time for the whole family. You always expect that you’ll deliver a healthy baby, however there can be complications leading up to giving birth. This can be an overwhelming and scary time for any new parent.
One complication that can happen is that the baby is born prematurely. In Australia, around eight per cent of babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation) every year.
What Are Premature Babies?
Usually, a baby is born after 37 weeks gestation of being in the mother’s womb. However, premature babies are often born between 32 and 36 weeks gestation. Not all premature babies will develop problems. In fact, most will eventually grow up to be completely healthy with no health problems.
What Are The Complications And Effects Of Being Born Prematurely?
When a baby is born prematurely, it can mean that the organs have not fully developed, resulting to complications. Preterm babies will be cared for at the neonatal unit or the special care nursery.
The complications can range from having difficult breathing to long term effects. Below are some common examples of the types of complications that can occur.
Lung disease – Lungs are the last organ to develop and therefore many premature babies can have difficulties with breathing. Premature babies often need oxygen via a ventilator or in an incubator until their lungs are fully matured.
Feeding difficulties – Premature babies are often unable to suck and need to be fed via a tube into the stomach until the sucking and swallowing reflex is developed. They may also have feeding difficulties as they develop and grow into children.
Temperature control difficulties – Babies that are premature will often have issues with temperature as they are unable to cope outside of the womb during this critical time of development. This means that the ‘temperature control centre’ in a premature baby’s brain is immature. Babies require special overhead heaters or in enclosed incubators.
Apnoea – Breathing is controlled by part of the brain which has not been fully developed yet. This can cause the baby to stop breathing for a short period of time.
Bradycardia – As a result of Apnoea, premature babies can also experience a slowing down of the heart rate, which can create further problems.
Jaundice – A premature baby may also experience a yellow skin discoluoration developed due to a compound in the blood called bilirubin, which breaks down red blood cells. This occurs as the baby’s liver is too immature to process the bilirubin properly.
Example of A Fundraiser For A Premature Baby In Australia
Kayden was born in June 2011. Before Kayden was born, a scan revealed that Kayden had Long Gap Oesophageal Artesia. This meant that Kayden will have a few complications and will be born prematurely. Kayden was 10 weeks premature.
Usually the esophagus is a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. In newborns who are born prematurely, the formation of this continuous esophageal tube is interrupted, causing problems relating to feeding.
Oesophageal Atresia affects 1 in 3500 babies, and can be treated through a life-saving surgery to correct the problem. To date, Kayden underwent two surgeries to correct the problem. Kayden has been discharged from the hospital, however the recovery process for Kayden is long and an expensive journey.
Kayden has been tube feed from the first day of his life. He does not ‘eat’ food. He does put a lot of food into his mouth but he has never learnt how to swallow. It is now time for him to learn to eat. To get his nourishment he is fed 5 times a day. Four formula feeds and one solid feed all through the minkey button in his stomach. These feeds can take anything from 10 to 20 minutes.
-Susan, Kayden’s Grandmother
In order to give the best chances for Kayden in his early development stages, the family are fundraising to cover for medical related expenses. This includes paying for the cost to allow Kayden to attend the Lively Eaters a specialised feeding clinic in Adelaide, South Australia. The Lively Eaters is one of it’s kind, making it a difficult choice for the family as they reside in New South Wales.
If you would like to learn more Kayden’s story, go to Kayden’s Pledge Page at http://www.peoplepledge.com.au/2013/kayden-wyres.