Premature birth is not uncommon in the United States. In fact, according to March of Dimes, one in 10 pregnancies result in preterm labor. Doctors categorize preterm birth as birth that happens before 37 weeks gestational age. Many expectant parents do not fully understand the short or long-term consequences of premature birth, of which there are many. If you either gave birth prematurely in Indiana or your doctor warns of premature labor, it is important that you understand the possible lifelong effects you and your child may have to learn to navigate.
Preterm labor can lead to long-term developmental and intellectual disabilities for your child. Your baby may experience learning, physical development, or communication delays. He or she may also have trouble taking care of him or herself and demonstrate behavioral or neurological issues, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety or cerebral palsy.
Premature birth does not just affect the brain. It can also impact the function of your child's lungs. Research indicates that preemie babies are more likely to develop asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which causes the lungs to grow abnormally or to become inflamed.
Researchers have also associated preterm birth with chronic lung infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, vision problems, hearing loss and dental issues. For instance, your baby's first tooth may be slow to come, or he or she will experience changes in tooth color or teeth that grow in crooked.
This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal advice.