Friday, June 26, 2009
Medical Reports: Early Delivery
Nowadays, a lot of moms are choosing to deliver babies early for convenience. It was thought that anytime after 37 weeks was OK to deliver, but now doctors aren't so sure. As Seven's Christine Cruz tell us in tonight's Healthcast, new research may have mothers and their doctors thinking twice before choosing to deliver early.
WSVN -- It's supposed to be a time when the dreams of a family come true, but when a baby is born too early, those dreams can become a nightmare.
Tami Nickerson: "By four days old, he was three pounds, 14 ounces. You're just helpless. You can't do much more than just stand back and watch."
Hunter came four weeks early. He's barely premature but faces multiple health problems including speech delay, sensory integration disorder and acid reflux.
Dr. F. Sessions: "Late preterm birth is much more dangerous than we once thought."
Traditionally, delivery after 37 weeks was considered normal but as more mothers deliver before their due date, new research shows every week counts.
Dr. F. Sessions: "I think we are learning more and more how important it is to avoid elective late preterm birth."
Each week a baby is born before the 39th week, adding a 23 percent higher chance of having problems like jaundice and infection.
A recent study found babies born between four and eight weeks early had lower reading and math scores in first grade than babies carried to term.
It's a shift in thinking that doctors hope will lead to a shift in the number of mothers choosing to deliver early. While Tami didn't have a choice, she hopes mothers who do make the right choice.
Dr. F. Sessions: "If you can get to 40 weeks, by all means do it."
For now, she chooses to cherish the gift she almost lost.
Tami Nickerson: "He's the world to me. He's my life. He's everything I've waited for and wanted, and that's why we worked so hard to keep him with us."
Christine Cruz: "Dr. Cole says it's important to remember that a due date is an approximation, not an exact prediction. Doctors can be off by as much as 10 to 14 days."
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Jackie Ferman, Media Relations
St. Louis Children's Hospital
St. Louis, MO