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What are my baby's Chances???

Posted by on May. 25, 2008 at 2:13 PM
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Over the years, I have done very extensive research on issues dealing with premature babies.  Being that I live in the state of Wisconsin, I decided to find some information based off one of the states Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Being that I have done extensive research in the past, I know that their information is factually based which also reflects statistics across the United States.  Please remember that every preemie is different and so odds can vary a little bit but these are averages.  One of the first things a parent facing a premature birth or one that has recently had a preemie is asking "What are my baby's chances of survival and if my baby does live, what are the chances of impairment"? The following is information that I got off the NICU website... the link is included as well. 
 

http://www.meriter.com/living/preemie/index.htm
 

Chances for Survival

What are the chances that my baby will survive?

Many factors determine an individual baby's chances of survival. The most important of these are:

  • The baby's gestational age (number of completed weeks of pregnancy) at the time of birth
  • The baby's weight
  • The presence or absence of breathing problems
  • The presence or absence of congenital abnormalities or malformations
  • The presence or absence of other severe diseases, especially infection

In the smallest infants, gestational age is usually most important because it determines if the infant's organs, particularly the lungs, have developed enough to allow the baby to live within the limits of our current technology. Your baby's doctor will be able to give you the best estimate of your infant's chances since he/she can take into consideration many of the above factors. But, no estimate is perfect. Some babies suddenly get sick and die unexpectedly; others defy all odds. General estimates of survival for live born infants who receive neonatal intensive care in the USA in the late 1990's are:

Completed Weeks of Gestation at Birth
(Using last menstrual period)
Survival
21 weeks and less0%
22 weeks0-10%*
23 weeks10-40%
24 weeks40-70%
25 weeks50-80%
26 weeks80-90%
27 weeks>90%
30 weeks>95%
34 weeks>98%

*Most babies at 22 weeks are not recuscitated because survival without major disability is so rare.

A baby's chances for survival increases 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of gestation. After 26 weeks the rate of survival increases at a much slower rate because survival is high already.

What other factors influence survival?

Other factors may influence survival by altering the rate of organ maturation or by changing the supply of oxygen to the developing fetus.

  • Rupture of the fetal membranes before 24 weeks of gestation with loss of amniotic fluid markedly decreases the baby's chances of survival even if the baby is delivered much later.
  • Male infants are slightly less mature and have a slightly higher risk of dying than female infants.
  • For a given weight, African-American babies have a slightly better survival than Caucasian; most other races are intermediate between the two.
  • Diabetes in the mother, if not well controlled, slows organ maturation and these infants have a higher mortality.
  • Severe high blood pressure before the 8th month of pregnancy may cause changes in the placenta, decreasing the delivery of nutrients and/or oxygen to the developing fetus and leading to problems before and after delivery.

Can my obstetrician do anything to improve my baby's chances of survival?

Yes, there are things s/he can try if there is enough time and if you are the appropriate candidate for therapy. Sometimes women are too near delivery for treatments to be effective. Other women have complications such as infection, fetal distress or bleeding which make a more rapid delivery the best option.

  • You may be placed on bedrest.
  • Your obstetrician may try to stop your labor using labor-inhibiting drugs.
  • Your obstetrician may give you a steroid medication such as Betamethasone or Dexamethasone to try to speed up the baby's lung development. This is most effective if it is given more than 24 hours before delivery.
  •  

    Chances for Disabilty

    What are the chances that my baby will have a significant disability or handicap?

    For any infant, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT AHEAD OF TIME THE LIKELIHOOD OF A SIGNIFICANT HANDICAP (moderate or severe mental retardation, inability to walk without assistance, blindness or deafness). However, some factors increase the RISK of these handicaps:
    • Extreme prematurity, especially infants of 23-24 weeks of gestation at birth. At these gestations the risk is about 50%. As gestational age increases, the chances of being normal or nearly normal increases dramatically and is similar to the chances for survival. This means if survival is 80%, then about 80% of those who survive are free of major disability. Thus, with a 80% survival, 20% will die, about 64% will be healthy and 16% will have major disabilities.
    • Identifiable brain abnormalities. These may occur before birth or in the nursery. These include large intraventricular hemorrhages and/or periventricular leukomalacia.
    • Babies who have been the sickest and/or remained sick for long periods of time (several weeks).
    Most children with a significant disabilities enjoy life and are a source of pleasure to their parents.

    What are the chances that my baby will have a minor disability?

    Minor disabilities occur in about 15% of children born on time. They occur more often in premature infants, about half of infants weighing less than 3 1/2 pounds at birth. Many of these are not appreciated until school age. Common minor disabilities include short attention span; specific learning problems in school such as difficulty with math or reading; poorer than average coordination, especially for games requiring eye-hand coordination like hitting a ball; and needing glasses at an early age. Children with minor disabilities usually lead normal lives. Early identification of these problems helps make learning easier.

    As you can see, these odds are not as bad as you would think.  Every year, advances in medical practice become more and more sophisticated which means that more and more babies are living and thriving desptite their very early arrival.  While I certainly can't know or predict if your preemie will fit into the average statistics, I can tell you that I have spoken to hundreds of preemie mothers and I have seen some very sick little babies live and lead productive lives.  I myself had two micro preemies who both have come a very long way.  I hope and pray that you too will have a similar outcome. 
by on May. 25, 2008 at 2:13 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mrssundin
by New Member on Oct. 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Thank you so much for the information.  i have had two preemies, one at 24 weeks in 06 and one at 31 weeks in 08.  in fact the 08 one was just born last friday.  i was wondering what the survival rate was for the 31 weeker because no one would tell me.  my 24 weeker is now 2 going on 20 as i like to call it so i am praying for another miracle in the case of my son.

thanks again for the info.

passion4preemie
by Group Owner on Oct. 30, 2008 at 3:13 AM

you are very welcome for the information.  Most (not all), but most 31 weekers do fairly well and I want to say congrats on your new arrival.

Quoting mrssundin:

Thank you so much for the information.  i have had two preemies, one at 24 weeks in 06 and one at 31 weeks in 08.  in fact the 08 one was just born last friday.  i was wondering what the survival rate was for the 31 weeker because no one would tell me.  my 24 weeker is now 2 going on 20 as i like to call it so i am praying for another miracle in the case of my son.

thanks again for the info.


sweetiepie120
by New Member on Nov. 4, 2008 at 1:28 PM

Hi

I had a 31 weeker and he is now one years old and doing fantastic.  He shows no signs of delays and is doing something new everyday or as I call it getting into something new everyday.  Good luck with your little one.

elainadel
by New Member on Nov. 6, 2008 at 11:09 AM
September 23, 2008 my daughter was born at 30 weeks. She couldn't eat for the first couple of days dropping her weight to an even 2 lbs. As soon as the feeding tube went in she pulled it out. The next feeding we tried a bottle and she took it. Within a week she was on the breast. Exactly three weeks from the day she was born we brought all 3 1/2 lbs of her home. Today she's a perfect 13 month old, walking, talking, and potty training. There's always hope.
passion4preemie
by Group Owner on Nov. 17, 2008 at 4:31 AM

I understand there always being hope and agree whole heartedly.  My kids were both born very, very premature and are doing wonderfully now.  I am so blessed to be their mother.

Quoting elainadel:

September 23, 2008 my daughter was born at 30 weeks. She couldn't eat for the first couple of days dropping her weight to an even 2 lbs. As soon as the feeding tube went in she pulled it out. The next feeding we tried a bottle and she took it. Within a week she was on the breast. Exactly three weeks from the day she was born we brought all 3 1/2 lbs of her home. Today she's a perfect 13 month old, walking, talking, and potty training. There's always hope.


amandagrass
by New Member on Nov. 29, 2008 at 4:06 PM

My son was a 31 weeker.  He is a fat healthy little butter ball now with no issues so just keep praying and everything will work out for you and yours.

Quoting mrssundin:

Thank you so much for the information.  i have had two preemies, one at 24 weeks in 06 and one at 31 weeks in 08.  in fact the 08 one was just born last friday.  i was wondering what the survival rate was for the 31 weeker because no one would tell me.  my 24 weeker is now 2 going on 20 as i like to call it so i am praying for another miracle in the case of my son.

thanks again for the info.


2boyznagirl08
by New Member on Nov. 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

in your research of premature birth have you come across premature babies born with non immune fetal hydrops my doctors here in pa did not know much they said and i have questions they have no answers for.

passion4preemie
by Group Owner on Dec. 2, 2008 at 2:37 AM

I hope this helps you out a little : )

High-Risk Newborn

Hydrops Fetalis

What is hydrops fetalis?

Hydrops fetalis is a severe, life-threatening problem of severe edema (swelling) in the fetus and newborn. It is also called hydrops. There are two types of hydrops:

  • immune - results when the mother's immune system causes breakdown of red blood cells in the fetus. This is the most dangerous problem of blood group incompatibility between the mother and baby.
  • non-immune - the most common type; can result when diseases or complications interfere with the baby's ability to manage fluid.

What causes hydrops fetalis?

Hydrops develops when too much fluid leaves the bloodstream and goes into the tissues. Many different diseases and complications can cause hydrops, including the following:

  • Immune hydrops may develop because of Rh disease in the mother. When an Rh negative mother has an Rh positive baby, the mother's immune system sees the baby's Rh positive red blood cells as "foreign." When the mother's antibodies attack the foreign red blood cells, they are broken down and destroyed, resulting in anemia. Hydrops can develop as the baby's organs are unable to compensate for the anemia. The heart begins to fail and large amounts of fluid build up in the baby's tissues and organs.
  • Non-immune hydrops includes all other diseases or complications that may interfere with the baby's ability to manage fluid. There is no one mechanism to explain non-immune hydrops. Some of the diseases or complications that are often associated with hydrops include the following:

    • severe anemias
    • congenital infections (infections present at birth)
    • heart or lung defects
    • chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects
    • liver disease

Who is affected by hydrops fetalis?

Immune hydrops is not as common as it used to be since the widespread use of Rh immunoglobulin treatment for Rh negative women. Non-immune hydrops occurs rarely. Premature babies with hydrops are at increased risk. The incidence of hydrops can vary between populations.

Why is hydrops fetalis a concern?

The severe edema that occurs with hydrops can overtake the baby's organ systems. About half of unborn babies with hydrops do not survive. Risks are also high for babies born with hydrops, with survival often depending on the cause and treatment.

What are the symptoms of hydrops fetalis?

The following are the most common symptoms of hydrops fetalis. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently.

During pregnancy, symptoms may include:

  • large amounts of amniotic fluid
  • thickened placenta
  • ultrasound of the fetus shows enlarged liver, spleen, or heart, and fluid buildup in the fetus' abdomen

After birth, symptoms may include:

  • pale coloring
  • severe edema overall, especially in the baby's abdomen
  • enlarged liver and spleen
  • respiratory distress (difficulty breathing)

The symptoms of hydrops fetalis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician for a diagnosis.

How is hydrops fetalis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hydrops fetalis may include:

  • ultrasound - a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
  • fetal blood sampling - done by placing a needle through the mother's uterus and into a blood vessel of the fetus or the umbilical cord.
  • amniocentesis - withdrawing some of the amniotic fluid for testing.

Treatment for hydrops fetalis:

Specific treatment for hydrops fetalis will be determined by your baby's physician based on:

  • your baby's gestational age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your baby's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment of hydrops depends on the cause. During pregnancy, hydrops may be treatable only in certain situations. Management of hydrops in newborn babies may include:

  • help for respiratory distress using supplemental oxygen or a mechanical breathing machine
  • removal of excessive fluid from spaces around the lungs and abdomen using a needle
  • medications to help the kidneys remove excess fluid

Quoting 2boyznagirl08:

in your research of premature birth have you come across premature babies born with non immune fetal hydrops my doctors here in pa did not know much they said and i have questions they have no answers for.

 

junior1985
by New Member on Nov. 13, 2011 at 2:52 AM

I am a mom of a current nicu baby who was born at 25 weeks and 6days she is doing so amazing..... she was born at 1lb 9.8 oz and 12.5 inches long she is now 4lbs 12 oz and 16 3.4 inches long.. she should be coming home around the beginning of dec.

passion4preemie
by Group Owner on Nov. 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

 Congratz and welcome to the group.  I just love hearing how well preemies are doing....it's amazing how these tiny lil people can endure so much and come out ahead.  My name is sarah...lemmie know if you ever need anything

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