Premature babies- also known as preemies- continue to be born regularly. If it happens to your newborn, that doesn't mean that your baby will suffer forever. In fact, preemies continue to survive more and more as time goes by. It's not easy taking care of one, but it's certainly doable. The key is to make sure that you give them the best care you possibly can.
One way to improve the prospects of your preemie is to give them a stable home life. This is according to a new study that was completed by the Washington University School of Medicine. The study came about in the first place to figure out what puts children at risk for mental health problems that could be related to medical problems faced after birth. After all, to overcome all the health struggles that come with being a preemie is no easy task, to put it mildly.
But in this new study, it was discovered that children who were more likely to overcome any complications that come from being a preemie had nurturing mothers and very stable home lives. This resulted in these same children to grow up and have normal neurodevelopmental and psychiatric outcomes. In other words, these former preemies were able to grow into healthy children.
For this study, 125 five-year-old children were evaluated. 85 of them had been born about 10 weeks prior to their due date. The remaining 40 children were born at full-term. They all completed standardized tests that assessed their motor, language and cognitive skills. In addition, their parents and teachers were to complete checklists that determine if a child may have issues regarding ADHD, autism, and issues considered to be behavioural, emotional and/or social.
The results were that the former preemies fit into one of the four groups. 27 percent of the premature children had motor, language and cognitive skills in what was considered to be a normal range. Meanwhile, 45 percent of them were ranked at the low end of normal, meaning that they didn't do nearly as well as those who ranked normal.
As for the other two groups, those children were observed to have issues with anxiety, autism and/or ADHD. 13 percent of former preemies were said to have "moderate to severe psychiatric problems," while 15 percent showed issues with paying attention, as well as both impulsive and hyperactive behaviour. All of the kids from these last two group came from mothers and/or families that suffered from ADHD, as well as high parenting stress and psychosocial stress. In other words, their homes were far from stable.
With that in mind, it's clear that a stable home is important in order for a preemie to have a strong chance at thriving. They already face a lot of obstacles, so a tough home environment will make it difficult for them to grow up healthy. So if you have a preemie- or are currently worried that your unborn baby will be premature- please remember the importance of a stable home life. It will benefit them much more than you may even realize.