Being pregnant is an amazingly wonderful time, but it’s also a scary time. The joy of being pregnant is often dampened by the fears of something going wrong.
Usually a woman’s fears during pregnancy end up unfounded. The baby is born healthy and happy and all the worry was for nothing. But sometimes, sometimes things do go wrong. Prematurity is the #1 cause of neonatal death yet most parents aren’t even aware of the dangers. They fear so many different things but don’t often understand the definition of prematurity.
Definition of Prematurity:
Being born at or before 37 weeks gestational age.
Challenges of Prematurity:
- Preemies require special care because their growth is disrupted in the womb.
- Organ growth is stunted.
- They are at increased risk for serious medical complications.
- Require long-term care in the hospital.
- More likely to have respiratory issues.
- Increased chance of infections.
One of the biggest concerns with preemies is the possibility of a severe respiratory infection, particularly the virus RSV. 79% of preemie moms have had a child hospitalized due to a severe upper respiratory infection and RSV is severe and dangerous, especially for preemies.
Below are some facts about RSV, how to prevent it and how to recognize the symptoms:
RSV Quick Facts
- 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.
Prevention is Key
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no
treatment for RSV, parents should take the following 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
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
- Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever and extreme fatigue
I’ve never known anyone personally who had a preemie (at least not since I have been a mom myself) so I don’t have any experience with the issues related to premature babies. I do know that RSV affects more than just babies born premature, however, so the information regarding RSV is important for all parents. And while you can’t control if your child will be born a preemie, you can take steps to help your preemie get the best start they can – with prevention.
The infographic below gives great information about RSV – what it is, how it is transmitted, who is most susceptible, and how to prevent it.
To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.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.