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November 07

Premature babies 'cost 15k more'

Caffeine jolt helps Premature Infants

Common drug for stopping pre-term labor may be harmful to babies

Victims of Pre Eclampsia 'twice as likely to develop heart disease in later life'

 

October 07

Thousands of premature babies 'failed' by hospitals

 

February 07

High-dose Progesterone Treatment Reduces Preterm Delivery Risk

Black Moms Bear Burden of Premature Births

Baby's Conception Could Determine Premature Risk

No Added Risk To Baby If Your Caffeine Intake Is Moderate During Pregnancy

Vaginal birth boosts risk of baby brain haemorrhage

Giving Nitroglycerin To Women In Premature Labour Improves Their Babies' Health


 

January 07

Medicine for lungs may soon be ready

Can hormones prevent premature birth? The latest research

Britain tops Premature Baby league table

Miracle Baby reaches 50!

Born too soon

Cervical Treatment link to premature birth


Oil Massages are good for baby


Simple Test spots risk of Premature birth



December 2006

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Doubles Risk Of Pregnancy Complications

Premature Babies Probably Feel And Are Aware Of Pain

November 2006

When premature babies should be allowed to die

August 2006

Premature babies' brains don't grow so well after birth

June 2006

Premature or underweight babies are more at risk of hyperactivity disorder

April 2006

Increasing premature births hold serious implications for UK

Pregnancy gap puts baby at risk

Premature babies may need check-up before air travel

Virtual visits of premature babies available at Singapore hospital
Singapore - A trial service is enabling parents and relatives of premature babies to view the tiny infants online, Singapore General Hospital said Friday.
A camera hooked up beside the baby's cot in the neonatal intensive care unit allows tired parents to view the live footage on 3G-enabled mobile phones.
The Virtual Visit service is on a three-month trial, during which the infants go online for three 90-minute sessions a day.
The service launched by the hospital's department of neonatal medicine and Singapore Telecommunications was not intended to replace parental contact but to complement it, department head Yeo Cheo Lian said.
It 'supplements parental contact and allows other family members to bond with the baby and be involved in his care right from the beginning,' Yeo said.
The service is free during the trial period. Once it is over, parents will likely be charged about 5 Singapore dollars (3.12 US dollars) a day to cover the maintenance of the cameras, Yeo said.

Oral Bacteria linked to premature birth


Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland discovered the first-found link in a human between bacteria found in the mouth and the amniotic fluid of a woman in pre-term labor.

Yiping Han, the lead researcher and a Case microbiologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Case School of Dental Medicine, found the link during a pilot study of 34 women undergoing amniocentesis at MetroHealth.

Han said the infections play a bigger role in premature deliveries prior to 30 weeks than those that happen later in pregnancy and can result in babies born with many health challenges and who struggle to thrive at their low-birth weights.

Premature Babies Feel ‘True’ Pain

Premature babies experience ‘true’ pain, a new study shows.
A team of researchers from University College London studied the brains scans of premature babies while they were having blood tests. The scans showed a surge of blood and oxygen in the sensory area of the babies' brains. This indicated that the pain was processed in the higher levels of the brain, which are linked to pain sensation in adults, according to the researchers.
The researchers say this is the first direct scientific measure of pain in premature babies.

"Estimates show that in intensive care, each [premature] baby is subjected to an average of 14 procedures per day, many of which are considered by clinical staff to be painful, such as inserting chest tubes," said Professor Maria Fitzgerald, the lead researcher of the project.

Premature birth may affect personality


Being born premature may affect a child's personality into adulthood, new research has found.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry studied 108 young adults who had been born premature (before 33 weeks gestation) between 1979 and 1981.
They were then compared with 67 people of a similar age who were born at full-term (38-40 weeks' gestation).
The researchers found that those who were born early had lower levels of a personality trait called 'extraversion', indicating that they may have less confident and outgoing personalities.
The premature group also had higher levels of the personality trait 'neuroticism', which indicates increased anxiety, lower mood and lower self-esteem.
According to the researchers, the cause of this difference in personality style is not yet clear.
However, they suggest that very tiny preterm babies are at risk of injury to the brain around the time of birth.
Lead researcher Matthew Allin said: "Other studies have shown that premature children and adolescents are more likely to be anxious, to experience social rejection and have reduced self-esteem, but until now few studies have looked at the effects of prematurity on adult personality.
"Our work will now focus on untangling the complex influences that go into forming a personality."

March 2006

Premature babies are blocking beds, says royal medical college

Premature babies who need months of expensive care have been accused of "bed blocking" by one of Britain's royal medical colleges, it emerged yesterday.
In a consultation document, the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) said that very premature babies were taking up intensive care space that could be used for healthier babies.The high demand from premature births means that some expectant mothers with potentially healthier babies are forced into other hospitals at a late stage, it said.Premature baby campaigners and mothers attacked the language used as "insensitive" and "a disgrace".In a report to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which is running a two-year inquiry into prolonging life in premature babies, the RCOG said: "Some weight should be given to economic considerations as there is a real issue in neo-natal units of "bed blocking"; whereby women have to be transferred in labour to other units, compromising both their and their babies' care."In the July 2005 report, it added: "One of the problems of the "success" of neo-natal intensive care is that the practitioners are always pushing the boundaries."There has been a constant need to expand numbers of cots to cover the increasing tendency to try and rescue babies at lower and lower gestations."A spokesman for Bliss, the premature baby charity, criticised the RCOG for insensitive and "unhelpful" language."The care of premature babies is already an area that is under-resourced and overstretched, and it is not helpful to suggest that their worth can be calculated in terms of money," she said.Kelly Sowerby, 29, from Tyne and Wear, Sunderland, who has had three premature babies - one at almost 23 weeks - who did not survive, said it was a "heartless disgrace" to suggest that premature babies were "bed blocking"."Even if the odds were tiny I wanted to fight for my son to have a single chance of life," she said.The RCOG statement reflects growing opinion among doctors and specialists towards the withholding of treatment from babies born under 25 weeks.Baroness Warnock, the leading medical ethics expert, has said that Britain should follow the example of Holland, the only European country that says such babies should die. She believes that it would prevent doctors from competing to keep alive babies that may not survive in the long-term.The UK has the highest rate of low birthweight babies in western Europe. About 800 babies are born each year under 25 weeks but medical advances suggest that almost 40 per cent of them can survive.At 23 weeks - 17 weeks premature - only 11 per cent survive free of a disabling condition, according to a report by EPICure, at Nottingham University.A neo-natal intensive care bed costs about £1,000 a day and very premature babies can require round-the-clock help for many months. Research by the Rowntree Foundation suggests that it costs three times as much to bring up a child with a severe disability (about £125,000) than a child without problems.The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) is expected to hear at its conference this week that babies born under 25 weeks could cost three times as much to educate by the age of six.
A spokesman for the RCOG said yesterday: "There is a proper professional concern around the death and handicap rate in babies born under 25 weeks."

Does Mozart help newborn babies?

Doctors are to run trials to see if playing classical music to newborn babies helps them recover from the trauma of birth.
The decision follows a pioneering project at Kosice-saca hospital in eastern Slovakia where Mozart and other classical music is piped to newborns via headphones in the maternity ward.
Doctors there believe the music is the perfect way to keep newborn babies healthy and relaxed after the traumatic experience of being born.
And now experts at Weill Medical College at New York's Cornell University will run a study to medically prove whether the music of Mozart affects levels of stress, heart rate, and motor activity in premature babies.

Liquid Ventilation Could Help Save The Lives Of Premature Babies, But The Patent-owning Company Will Not Market It, Saying It Lacks Profitability

To live we need to breathe. Prior to being born we carry this activity out through the placenta and subsequently by means of our lungs. In normal development, the lungs of the foetus are filled with amniotic liquid and, on being born, the first cry activates this respiration surface. But the main problem that premature babies have is that their lungs are not well formed. Moreover, they often lack surfactant, a compound formed by proteins and lipids that avoids the lungs folding in on themselves before the baby gets stronger.
The respirators usually employd in these cases provide artificial surfactant, but not always in sufficient amounts to provide correct therapy. In order to alleviate this situation, the Nautical School at the University of the Basque Country has developed a liquid respiration respirator.
The machine simulates placentary respiration by filling the lungs of the premature baby with liquid and then the respirator introduces and extracts the required quantity of liquid at a suitable respiratory rhythm. The amount of liquid administered is usually in the order of 10 millilitres per kilogram of the baby's weight.

Perfluorocarbons instead of air
Perfluorocarbon is used in liquid respiration, as it has a suitable surface tension in order to maintain the pulmonary structure and the fluorine has good properties for the transport of and interchange between blood and the gases, O2 and CO2. The respirator syringes introduce the oxygenated perfluorocarbon to the very last alveola. Here oxygen is released and carbon dioxide taken up in the same way as on the respiration surface. Then the respirator extracts part of the perfluorocarbon from the lungs and introduces the next oxygenated dose. The same machine carries out the removal of CO2 from the perfluorocarbon and adds oxygen to it.
Being full of liquid, the problems of pressure associated with conventional assisted respiration are avoided because the lungs of the premature baby suffer less stress and respire more easily.
However, this story does not have a happy ending. The respirator, for the moment, is no more than a prototype. In the experiments carried out at the Cruces hospital in Bilbao with artificial lungs and with animals, the results have been very good. It has even been applied successfully in more than 80 death-threatening situations in premature babies. But the perfluorocarbon for medical use is not available on the market. As premature babies need very small quantities and no commercial application for adults has been found, the patent-owning company has opted not to market it arguing that it lacks profitability. Thus, an industrial version of the liquid respirator is yet to be developed

Feb 2006

Common Reflux Treatment Linked to Life Threatening Bowel Infection in Premature Infants


Researchers in an NIH network have found that premature infants given a common class of non-prescription drugs used to treat acid reflux are slightly more likely to develop a potentially fatal bowel disorder than are infants who are not treated with the drugs.
The drugs, known as H2 blockers, inhibit the production of stomach acid and may put premature infants at risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious inflammation of the intestines. The study appears in the February 2006 Pediatrics and was conducted by researchers in the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network.
The researchers pointed out that it is not possible to tell from the study whether or not the drugs caused the condition, but nonetheless advised caution with their use for premature infants.
“This study strongly suggests that the current practice of prescribing H2 blockers to prevent or treat acid reflux in premature infants needs to be carefully reevaluated by all concerned in light of these new findings,” said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health.
Necrotizing enterocolitis affects from 5 to 10 percent of infants born extremely prematurely, explained the study's first author, Ronnie Guillet, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, a member institution of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network.
With necrotizing enterocolitis, tissue lining the wall of the intestines dies. The surviving tissue becomes swollen and inflamed, and the digestive tract is unable to digest or transport food. In some cases, damage to the intestines may require that portions of the intestines be removed. In other cases, the damage is so severe that the infant dies. The cause of the disorder is unknown.
Common H2 blockers are cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), ranitidine (Zantac), and nizatidine (Axid).
To conduct the study, Dr. Guillet and her coworkers analyzed the records of more than 11,000 very low birth weight infants who had been treated in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Of these, 787 premature infants had developed necrotizing enterocolitis. The infants ranged in weight from 401 grams to 1500 grams (about 14 ounces to just over 3 lbs). The researchers found that infants who received H2 blockers were 1.71 times more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis than were infants who had not received them.
In their article, Dr. Guillet and her coauthors wrote that it is not possible to determine from the analysis whether or not H2 blockers cause necrotizing enterocolitis. Another possible explanation, they wrote, is that infants likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis might also have symptoms that require treatment with H2 blockers. The records that the researchers analyzed did not contain information on why physicians prescribed the drugs.
No other studies have been conducted on large numbers of premature infants receiving H2 blockers, said the program scientist of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network, Rosemary Higgins, M.D., of NICHD's Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. However, the practice is widespread in neonatal intensive care units around the country.
Physicians prescribe H2 blockers to premature infants for several reasons, Dr. Higgins said. If premature infants are experiencing a lot of acid reflux, physicians might prescribe the drugs to prevent damage to the esophagus.
Dr. Higgins added that some physicians may prescribe H2 blockers to a premature infant who is not experiencing reflux out of concern that excessive stomach acid may lead to stomach ulcers. Some physicians believe that reflux may predispose an infant to apnea-the cessation of breathing during sleep. Dr. Higgins said that this belief is controversial and no research has been conducted to determine its validity. In other cases, physicians may prescribe H2 blockers to prevent excess stomach acidity among infants who, because they are unable to feed unassisted, must be fed through a tube inserted through the esophagus.
In the paper, Dr. Guillet and her coworkers hypothesized that, by decreasing acidity in the digestive tract, H2 blockers might result in excessive levels of a type of bacteria known as gram negative bacteria. These high bacterial levels, in turn, might lead to necrotizing entercolitis. The gram negative bacteria, normally harmless, are presumably kept in check by stomach acid, and might increase to unhealthy levels in the absence of sufficient stomach acid.
In support of their hypothesis, the researchers cited a study which found that experimental animals with reduced stomach acid levels had higher levels of gram negative bacteria and a high likelihood of developing necrotizing enterocolitis. The researchers also cited a study which found that premature infants fed human milk with a slightly higher acidity level than normal had lower levels of gram negative bacteria and were less likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis than were infants fed milk with a normal acidity level.
The researchers did not study any other drugs used to reduce stomach acidity and do not know whether premature infants given these drugs have an increased likelihood of necrotizing enterocolitis.The NICHD is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the biomedical research arm of the federal government. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation.

Jan 2006

Experts do not know why the children suffer from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but have warned parents against sleeping with their babies on the sofa.The risk of SIDS is higher for male, premature and low-birthweight babies and those sleeping on their side or front, a report in medical journal The Lancet revealed.Smoking during pregnancy and exposure to secondary smoke after birth can also increase the risk of SIDS.The 1991 "Back to Sleep" campaign told parents to put babies on their back to sleep and death rates from SIDS subsequently fell.The new study led by Professor Peter Fleming of the Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol looked at how the campaign had influenced the factors that contribute to SIDS over the last 20 years.It used data from 369 consecutive unexpected infant deaths that occurred between 1984 and 2003 in the Avon area.The researchers found that although the number of deaths in the parental bed had fallen, the number of co-sleeping deaths on a sofa had increased four fold in recent years.Professor Fleming said: "Although the reasons for the rise in deaths when a parent sleeps with their infant on a sofa are unclear, we strongly recommend that parents avoid this sleeping environment."THE number of babies dying when a parent falls asleep with them on a sofa has increased four fold, researchers said today.

Premature labour drug 'doubles early birth risk'

A drug which is supposed to lessen women's risk of early birth could actually double their chances of having a premature baby research has claimed.

Baby charity Tommy's found the antibiotic metronidazole, which is given to one in 200 mothers who are at risking of giving birth prematurely, was not only ineffective at preventing early births, but could be potentially harmful.
The researchers, who published their findings in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said the results of their study meant that around 1,000 babies could were born prematurely in the UK every year.
The study involved 900 women who were 23 to 24-weeks pregnant and at risk of going into early labour. Those most at risk were split into two groups. Half received one week's course of metronidazole while the other group was given a dummy drug.
Only around 39 per cent of women in the group taking the dummy drug had their babies prematurely, compared to the 62 per cent of women who took the antibiotic.
The researchers concluded that metronidazole could increase women's risk of having a premature baby.
The drug is generally prescribed for a condition known as bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is an infection linked to premature deliveries.
Andrew Shennan, the report's author and professor of obstetrics for Tommy's, said: 'Clinicians and high-risk pregnant women should be aware of this research outcome so that we can avoid the escalation of pre-term birth and in turn, save more babies' lives.'
Tommy's said that about five per cent of antenatal women were screened for BV, with one in ten tests coming out positive.
The charity says this means that one in 200 pregnant women were at a heightened risk of giving birth early. Given that there are about 700,000 births every year in the UK, Tommy's estimated that 1,000 babies could be born prematurely in the UK every year.

© 2006 Adfero Ltd.

Viruses linked with cerebral palsy

Infections around the time of birth may increase risk for the nerve disorder.
Exposure to viral infections around the time of birth may increase the risk that newborns will develop cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders characterized by loss of movement or other nerve functions caused by brain injuries during fetal development or birth.
A study led by PhD candidate Catherine Gibson of the University of Adelaide in Australia compared blood samples from 443 babies with cerebral palsy and 883 babies without the condition.
Blood samples taken within a few days of birth were tested for viruses that have an affinity for nerve tissue, including members of the herpes family.
Exposure to these viruses was common among both groups of babies. Premature babies were particularly likely to be exposed to viral infection, which may indicate a relationship between infection and preterm birth.
In addition, exposure to herpes group B viruses was associated with a two-fold increase in risk of cerebral palsy. These viruses include varicella zoster, the virus responsible for chickenpox and shingles.

Nov 2005

 Research may help premature babies breathe

University of Alberta researchers say they have pioneered gene therapy to restore alveoli and lung capillaries in damaged rat lungs.

The research is described as a first step toward helping premature babies, who are often at risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia -- a chronic lung disease caused by having to place such infants on ventilators and oxygen-rich therapy for acute respiratory failure.

With many such premature babies approaching their adolescent years, clinicians and researchers are also waiting to see whether longer term health problems are going to begin occurring.

"Right now we simply don't have any treatments," says Bernard Thebaud, a clinician-scientist and neonatologist in the university's Department of Paediatrics. "So, if we can't prevent it, we've started to think about how we might repair it."

Using animal models, Thebaud and colleagues have, in effect, grown new blood vessels and alveoli -- the tiny air sacs in which exchange occurs between the lungs and blood vessels.

July 2005

The Bliss Baby Charter - Click for information

 

June 2005

Pomegranate juice for pregnant mothers may help babies resist brain injury

Expectant mothers at risk of premature birth may want to consider drinking pomegranate juice to help their babies resist brain injuries from low oxygen and reduced blood flow, a new mouse study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests.
In humans, decreased blood flow and oxygen to the infant brain is linked to premature birth and other irregularities during pregnancy, birth and early development. The phenomenon, which is called hypoxia ischemia, causes brain injury in approximately 2 of every 1,000 full-term human births and in a very high percentage of babies born before 34 weeks of gestation. Hypoxic ischemic brain injury can lead to seizures, a degenerative condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and mobility impairments including cerebral palsy.
When scientists temporarily lowered brain oxygen levels and brain blood flow in newborn mice whose mothers drank water mixed with pomegranate concentrate, their brain tissue loss was reduced by 60 percent in comparison to mice whose mothers drank sugar water or other fluids.
"Hypoxic ischemic brain injury in newborns is very difficult to treat, and right now there's very little we can do to stop or reverse its consequences," explains senior author David Holtzman, M.D., the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. "Most of our efforts focus on stopping it when it happens, but if we could treat everyone who's at risk preventively, we may be able to reduce the impacts of these kinds of injuries."
The study, which appears in the June issue of Pediatric Research, was conducted in collaboration with POM Wonderful, a U.S. producer of pomegranates and pomegranate juice, and scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles. Lead author David Loren, M.D., formerly a neonatal critical care fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, performed the research. He is now at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Holtzman's lab has been studying neonatal brain injury for more than a decade by temporarily reducing oxygen levels and blood flow in the brains of 7-day-old mouse and rat pups. The model produces brain injuries similar to those seen in human infants injured by hypoxia ischemia.
Pomegranates contain very high concentrations of polyphenols, substances also found in grapes, red wine, and berries that scientists have linked to potential neuroprotective and anti-aging effects.
Scientists gave pregnant female mice water with pomegranate juice, plain water, sugar water or vitamin C water to drink during the last third of pregnancy and while they suckled their pups for seven days after birth.
After performing the procedures that exposed mouse pups to low oxygen levels, scientists examined the brains, comparing damage to the cortex, hippocampus and the striatum. Researchers who conducted the examinations were unaware of what the pup's mother drank. Mice whose mothers drank pomegranate juice had brain injuries less than half the size of those found in other mice.
Much of the damage from hypoxia ischemia results when oxygen-starved brain cells self-destruct via a process known as apoptosis. Scientists found an enzyme linked to apoptosis, caspase-3, was 84 percent less active in mice whose mothers drank pomegranate juice.
Holtzman says the results suggest the need for studies of pomegranate juice's effects in humans, but he cautions that because of the relative unpredictability of hypoxia ischemia in newborns, it would be difficult to assemble a sufficiently large study group.
Hypoxic ischemic brain damage is frequently associated with premature delivery. The lungs, brain and circulatory systems in some premature babies are insufficiently mature to supply the brain with enough nutrients and oxygen outside the womb. Scientists know some of the factors that increase risk of premature birth, including
diabetes, low economic status, youthful mothers, weakness in the cervix and a personal or familial history of miscarriage.
"One might advise this group that studies in animals have suggested drinking pomegranate juice may reduce the risk of injury from hypoxia ischemia," he says.
Holtzman's findings and other research into the potentially beneficial effects of pomegranate juice, red wine, and other natural foods form a neurological parallel to chemoprevention, an area of oncology research focused on finding naturally-occurring substances in foods that reduce the chances of developing cancer.
"For pregnant women previously interested in the neuroprotective effects of red wine, these results suggest that pomegranate juice may provide an alternative during pregnancy, when alcohol consumption is unacceptable because it increases risk of birth defects," Holtzman says.
Holtzman's group is attempting to isolate the neuroprotective ingredients in pomegranate juice as a possible prelude to concentrating those ingredients and testing their ability to reduce brain injury. They also plan to investigate the possibility that polyphenols from pomegranates and other natural foods can slow other neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease.

June 5th

Expert tells doctors: let youngest premature babies die

BRITAIN’S top medical ethics expert has urged doctors to let the most premature babies die, with treatment offered only in exceptional cases.
Baroness Warnock believes Britain should follow Holland in setting an age limit below which babies would not routinely be resuscitated.


She says this would prevent doctors competing for the “triumph” of keeping babies alive at increasingly young ages even though they may not survive in the long term or may be left severely disabled.
Warnock’s comments were backed in part by Britain’s most senior paediatrician, who said the setting of a lower limit should be considered.
In Holland, doctors do not routinely administer intensive care to babies born before 25 weeks of pregnancy. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a medical think tank, is considering proposing similar guidelines in Britain. It is consulting doctors, nurses and parents about setting a 24-week limit.
Warnock, who helped frame laws on embryo research and fertility treatment, supports setting an age limit, with exceptions for babies who show they have a strong chance of living to become healthy children.
“Some doctors and nurses get competitive about the triumph of keeping these tiny, premature, babies alive,” she said. “It would be better to set a minimum age than to have no form of scrutiny or regulation. Below a certain age of gestation no baby should be kept going without very thorough scrutiny of what the prognosis for that baby is.”
Although most doctors are opposed to an age limit, Sir Alan Craft, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said it was a legitimate option to consider. “One possible course of action would be not to intervene with any 23-week-old babies unless they breathe completely and spontaneously themselves,” he said.
Craft, speaking in a personal capacity, argues that, as it is not possible to tell which babies born at 23 weeks or less will survive, doctors are forced to consider resuscitating all of them, although the majority have no chance of living.
Once doctors have started assisting these babies, he says, parents find it difficult to agree to treatment being withdrawn, even though it is of no help.
The Nuffield council is investigating the costs of raising the disabled children that premature babies often become as well as the expense of intensive care in neonatal units.
A study of the most premature babies showed most went on to suffer disabilities. The EPICure study of babies born at 25 weeks or less, led by researchers at Nottingham University, found that, by the age of six, only 20% of surviving children had no disabilities; 22% had severe disabilities, including cerebral palsy; while 34% had milder problems such as a squint.
In addition, it found that only 11% of all babies born at 23 weeks survived. Since the study began, however, care has improved and the figure is believed to be closer to 20%.
Bliss, the premature baby charity, says about 50 babies born at 23 weeks survive every year and it would be wrong to deny them the chance to live.
Bonnie Green, head of external relations, said: “We would be very unhappy. It is expensive to keep adults who may not pull through in intensive care but, in their case, we do not say ‘let’s use the money for something else’.”

May 2005

Hopping for babies

Parents of premature babies are increasingly being encouraged to use "kangaroo care" - and now the wider public is set to get involved.

A baby charity is launching a "Hop, Skip and Jump" week as a way of raising money for the care of premature babies.

The charity Bliss is set to launch its fundraising week on May 15, the United Nations Day of the Family.

As many as 80,000 babies a year in Britain need special care after birth.

The charity wants fundraisers to undertake activities such as hopping races, skipping, hop scotch marathons and jumping from great heights by abseiling.

A charity spokeswoman said: "Hop, Skip and Jump has been inspired by Kangaroo Care.

"Just as Kangaroos take care of their joeys in their pouches, parents are encouraged to develop closeness with their premature babies by holding them close to their bodies with skin-to skin contact.

"Known as ’kangaroo care’ this method is becoming increasingly popular to help babies to feel warm and safe."

 
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