I didn’t have preemies but it was definitely something I worried about with all 4 of my pregnancies because each pregnancy is different. I wouldn’t say I was lucky, pre-term birth can happen to anyone. One of my good friends and coworker Maria had problems with her pregnancy a few years ago, I knew the signs of pre-term labor and would urge her to make an appointment to see her Dr. to see if she should go on bed rest. 5 months into her pregnancy, she was finally put on bed rest and had her son Danny at 35 weeks. Maria was a preemie herself and has had health problems all her life and in the first year of Danny’s life, he has exhibited health problems too.
November 17th marks World Prematurity Day, a day dedicated to help raise awareness about prematurity and the potential risks associated with pre-term birth. With underdeveloped organs and immature immune systems, babies born prior to 37 weeks can be especially prone to infections from seemingly harmless viruses like the common cold, the flu or RSV.
Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity—the leading cause of neonatal death.
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
• Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
• Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
• Never let anyone smoke near your baby
• Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available