Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day. A day that so many of us mom’s have a connection with.
The definition of a premature baby means that birth took place before 37 weeks gestation age.
In 2010, I went in a routine OB visit, my blood pressure was checked, urine, and then the doctor came in. She was concerned of my rising blood pressure and also about the movement of Andrea. After an ultrasound to check on my baby, we decided that it would be better for her to come now as it seemed like the safest option.
I had no worries that Andrea would be okay, and she was! Born a few days shy of 37 weeks, Andrea was born at 6 lbs 11 oz.
While the stay in the hospital went great, Andrea checked out well, and we went home on time, I wasn’t educated about the risks of having a premature baby.
It was almost fall, and heading into winter. When everyone seems to get sick.
When a baby is born prematurely, development is disrupted in the womb. This often stunts the growth of the baby’s most critical organs. Because of this, premature baby’s are at an increased risk of infections and respiratory problems.
One in particular is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization and severe cases causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
Nearly all children contract a form of RSV by the age of 2, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. Premature babies are more at risk of developing a severe infection from RSV, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.
Because today is World Prematurity Day, I wanted to share with you a few RSV facts to help promote awareness of this special day:
- RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
- RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
If you are going to visit a premature baby this cold/flu season, here are a few preventive steps to help protect their child:
- Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
- Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
- Never let anyone smoke near your baby
- Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available
Know the symptoms of RSV and call your pediatrician immediately if your child shows one or more of the following signs:
- Severe coughing
- Rapid gasping breaths
- Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever and extreme fatigue
I hope you will join me today and help bring awareness about RSV by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, or even leaving a comment below about your own personal story.
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.