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The Health Risks for Preemies

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Michelle Duggar gave birth to a premature baby who weighs just one pound, six ounces. What are the health risks this child faces? Dr. Alanna Levine explains.

michelle duggar

Dr. Alanna Levine: Typically with babies born premature, you can expect them to be in the hospital until close to the actual due date had the pregnancy continued to term.

Babies are ready to come home when the can eat enough to gain weight, keep their bodies warm despite the changing temperature in the environment and breathe well enough that they don't need oxygen.

The most common challenges premature babies face in the hospital are infections, breathing difficulty, jaundice, feeding problems, heart problems and neurological issues. The earlier the baby is born, the greater the risk of medical difficulty. Every additional week in the womb contributes to improved outcome for the baby.

Once home, babies need to be monitored closely for weight gain and development. Premature babies are more vulnerable to respiratory viruses that don't cause significant problems in older children so they should seek treatment early if they develop a cold.

With current advances in medical care, many more babies born premature do very well and go on to live happy and healthy lives.

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