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Common Health Risk and Problems With Pre-Mature Babies

With any pregnancy there are health risk for both the mother and child. Some complications are more serious than others. If a child is born pre-term there is a greater chance that there will be complications. There are both short-term complications and long-term complications that can effect a child’s life.

Some of the short-term complications that can occur if a child is born pre-mature are breathing problems, brain development and brain bleeds, cardiac complications, body temp control, blood and immune system complications or problems, and gastrointestinal problems. Each of these problems will be address by doctors and well trained nurses at the time of birth or when the problem arises.

Long-term complication can be much more serious and be more difficult to treat. Some of the most common long-term complications are cerebral palsy, hearing and vision problems, impaired cognitive skills, dental problems, behavior or psychological problems, and chronic heath issues or even SIDS.

In the next week I will be posting both long and short term complication and how they effect the child.

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Second and Third Trimester

Here it is, the second and third trimester in one post, here we go. Durring the second trimester a lot of growth is happening. If you didn’t start showing a little bit of a baby bump, you will defiantly start showing in the second trimester. The baby started out at a zygote and now during the second trimester it has full functioning organs. In the first few weeks of the second trimester bones start to form and develop. By week fourteen or fifteen of the pregnancy an OB/GYN will be able to tell you the sex of the child if you so wish. Between weeks 16-18 the fetus can start to suck and even hear. At week 23 the fetus develops fingerprints which becomes an important identifying characteristic in life. One of the coolest things that happens during the second trimester is that your baby will be able to recognize and identify your voice by week 25.  All throughout the second trimester the fetus is starting to accumulate fat to sustain itself out side of the womb.

The third trimester is all about development and preparing for birth. During the third trimester movement increases, weight is gained, and motor functions start to develop. Once you have reached the third trimester a mother can successfully give birth with a 90% chance of survival rate unless other medical issue arise. Doctors do not want to have to deliver a child pre-term unless it is absolutely necessary of the health of the mother or child. The closer a mother can carry to full term the less likely it is for the child to have life threatening health problems or be dependent on medical equipment. Today doctors now have the tools and knowledge to help delay delivery if a mother goes into pre-term labor. By 28 weeks a child can survive outside of the womb, but there is chance for complications. The neurological system doesn’t fully develop until week 31. The neurological system helps regulate body temperature. If a child is born before 31 weeks they will most likely be place in a incubator to regulate body temperature until the neurological system fully develops. At 32 weeks lungs starting to become fully developed allowing for breathing. This is one of the most important developmental milestones in the third trimester. Within the womb the baby will start to practice breathing to live outside of the womb. If a child is born before 32 weeks there is a significant chance that they will have to either be intubated or given an oxygen mask until the lungs are developed and the child can breath on their own. At 37 weeks a baby is considered to be early term. This means that all organs are fully functioning and if born at this time there would a small chance for complications. Once you make it to 40 weeks it will be about time to deliver. A mother can go into labor a few days before or after the due date. A due date isn’t an exact day, just an estimated day, so be prepared to go into labor at any time.

Thats it! What goes on during the second and third trimester. Hopefully I was able to summarize this in a way that was understandable. Next I am on to illness that come along with pre-term birth.

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A Not So Spring Break…

Well Spring Break has come to an end. Not that it was much of a “spring” break, more like a second winter break. Despite the lack of warm weather and my whole family being sick, it was a relatively relaxing break. With that being said, I had a lot of free time on my hands to do some research, yay me! Like I said in my last post, I am going to briefly cover the second and third trimesters of a pregnancy. This is because in terms of development, not much happens in comparison to the first trimester. I will also cover the complications that can occur if early deliver were to happen.

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Summary of The first Trimester

The development that happens during the first trimester is amazing. At first you start out with a tiny tiny zygote that then develops into a fetus. That fetus grows every day, slowly starting to look more and more like a baby as the end of the trimester nears. All organs that the fetus will ever need are developed during this time. Proper development of the fetus is crucial during the first trimester. That is why it is important to see a doctor as soon as you know that you are pregnant. This will help both the mother and fetus have a heathy pregnancy.

Next I will be briefly covering the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

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Week 10-13 of Fetal Development

By week ten the fetus has arms, legs, and even fingers and toes. The webbing in-between the fingers and toes is starting to slowly disappear, creating distinct fingers and toes. The fetus can also start to open and close the eyes at this point, but later on the eyes will close to protect the development of the eye. At this time the fetuses brain is starting to make connections and start the early stages of learning. This is an important part of the development.

At week eleven, lost of movement is going on. Because the baby is only the size of a small prune it is hard to feel all the movement that is going on inside of you. The fetuses head is still largely disproportional compared to the rest of its body. The size of the head is almost the same size as the rest of the body. The iris, the color of the eye that controls the amount of light let into the eyes, is also developing.

Week twelve means you are almost to the end of the first trimester. By week twelve the chance of having a miscarriage goes down significantly. At this point the fetus actually looks like a baby, with its head and body slowly growing proportional to each other. At this point you will have started to put on a little weight, and in the weeks to come a baby bump will start to form if one hasn’t already.

At week thirteen the first trimester is officially over, Yay! During the first trimester the fetus has gone through more growth and development than it ever will in its life. If you are pregnant with a girl, the reproductive system has completely developed and the ovaries have hundreds and thousands of eggs. Another great thing about reaching week thirteen, most pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness are completely gone.

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Week 7-9 of Fetal Development

By week seven the fetus has developed every vital organ that it will need. This includes the heart, brain, kidneys, lungs, and digestive system. The fetus is also connected to the mother by the umbilical cord and fully dependent of it at this time. If you don’t know what the umbilical cord is, it is a it is a cord that is attached to both the mother and fetus. The umbilical cord contains blood vessels, which provide nutrients to the fetus.

At week eight rapid growth is still occurring. Some say that at this point it has gone from an embryo to fetus, this just depends on the person. The fetus has eyes, ears, nose, and mouth that can be made out in a ultra sound. The head of the fetus is also very large compared to the rest of its body. Many say that by week eight pregnancy symptoms are in full swing.

During week nine the fetus looks more like a human than a tadpole, and has lost what looks like a tail. Arms and legs are almost completely developed along with the reproductive system. By nine weeks it is hard to tell the sex of the fetus because the reproductive system is just starting to for, in the coming weeks it will be clear what gender the fetus is. At this point the fetus may also start to move.

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Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I

It is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord. This disease is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that is very severe and is one of the most common causes of Neonate morbidity, and is the leading heredity cause of mortality in infants.

This disease is caused by the degeneration of anterior horn cells within the spinal cord. This leads to muscle weakness that progresses overtime, leading to atrophy of skeletal muscles. More specifically it is cause by an abnormal or missing gene in the child’s DNA, the SMN1 gene also know as survival motor neuron gene. This gene is responsible for the production of proteins that are essential for the function of motor neurons. Without this protein present, motor neurons in the spinal cords degenerate and die.

There are three major types that effect children. SMA type I is the most severe type of SMA, usually causing death by age 2 from infection and respiratory failure. Type II affects children at a young age. SMA type II patients can sit on their own, with little to no assistance, but cannon stand or walk without some type of assistance including walkers, crutches, or wheel chair. Type III cases lack muscular develop in their young childhood years, but they are able to move without aid, but climbing or going up stairs is an extremely hard task.

Today and accurate diagnosis is possible through genetic testing. Currently doctors and researchers are working on developing a therapy for SMA type I patients. This progress is slowly growing as the understanding of the disease continues and as doctors and researchers better understand how the muscles work together and the mechanics of the disease.

If a child is diagnosed with SMA type I there will be a lot of medical treatment and personnel helping the child. It take well-trained doctors and nurses to help care for such medically fragile Neonatal babies. Unfortunately most neonatal babies that are diagnoses with SMA type I will not make it past two years of age. There are many things that doctors are able to do to help ease the pain and discomfort of SMA patients