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Premature infants are infants born before the 37th week of gestation. The organs of such newborns are not developed enough to enable the infant’s body to function normally in the postnatal period. Therefore, such babies face a number of challenges and need special intensive care to survive and avoid health complications.
The body structure of premature infants determines the way the organs function. One of the main body systems affecting the survival of such newborns is the respiratory system. The lungs of premature infants are not yet fully developed, which leads to their inability to function properly in the postnatal period. Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome is one of the most common consequences of the immaturity of the lungs. Other examples of possible complications include Transient tachypnea, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, and Pneumonia (American Pregnancy Association par. 7). Two more examples of the features of premature babies are little fat and immature skin.
Such specifics lead to the inability of the infant to maintain normal body temperature. Gastrointestinal and digestive systems of such babies are also immature, which makes them unable to absorb the nutrients properly (American Pregnancy Association par. 17). The structure of the heart in premature babies is also distinctive, as an open blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus is open during the prenatal period due to the high level of prostaglandin E, and the changes occur only at the last weeks of gestation when the baby becomes ready to breathe after the birth (American Pregnancy Association par. 19). A cardiac disorder called Patent Ductus Arteriosus is the example of the direct consequence of the high levels of prostaglandin E keeping the vessel open.
The process of remembering the challenges met by premature babies can be easier if it is conducted with the help of structuring the knowledge according to the body systems. Most of the body systems of preterm born infants are not well-developed, which serve as the cause of problems in the functioning of the organism. For example, the immaturity of respiratory, gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, hematologic, auditory, ophthalmic, and central nervous systems of premature babies usually serves as the basis for consequent challenges faced by the organism (Committee on Understanding Premature Birth 1). Knowledge of the specifics of the functioning of these systems can make recalling of the discussed information easier.
The preterm birth and complications faced by such infants comprise the topic that has millions of illustrations in real life. Every year nearly fifteen million babies are born premature, and such birth remains one of the most common causes of infants’ deaths all over the world. Therefore, knowledge of this topic is essential for every person as it can help to prevent the complications caused by premature labor in real life.
The current research on the topic reveals that the rates of premature births are growing each year (Gulland Fifteen Million and Rising e.3084). Other researchers try to explore the possible risk factors related to the discussed issue, including gynecological procedures (e.g. dilatation and curettage procedure) (Kmietowicz h3261), drinking in the first trimester (Gulland Drinking in First Trimester g2058), repeated abortions, inadequate intake of vitamin D during pregnancy (Grant e00022), etc.
The importance of the discussed topic naturally derives from the notion that human life is priceless and needs to be protected in every situation. The risks put to the life of infants by their premature births illustrate the danger of preterm labor and the necessity to search both for the ways of assisting such newborns in overcoming the challenges met by them and lowering the risks of such situations.
American Pregnancy Association. Premature Birth Complications. 2015. Web.
Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes Board on Health Sciences Policy. Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2007. Print.
Grant, William. “Adequate Vitamin D during Pregnancy Reduces the Risk of Premature Birth by Reducing Placental Colonization by Bacterial Vaginosis Species.” MBio 2.2 (2011): e00022-e00022-11. Print.
Gulland, Anne. “Drinking in First Trimester is Linked to Premature Birth and Babies Small for Gestational Age.” British Medical Journal 348 (2014): g2058. Print.
—. “Fifteen Million and Rising – the Number of Premature Births Every Year.” British Medical Journal 344 (2012): e.3084. Print.
Kmietowicz, Zosia. “Dilatation and Curettage Procedure Raises Risk of Premature Birth in Subsequent Pregnancies, Study Finds.” British Medical Journal 350 (2015): h3261. Print.