If you’re reading this article, you likely know prematurity exists. Many of us here have experienced it first-hand. We understand all too well the emotions and repercussions that come with delivering a baby too early. But for those who have not been directly affected, there’s a lot about having a preemie you may not know.
In the US, approximately 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely. Preterm birth is considered prior to 37 weeks. That means just three weeks before full term, babies are at risk for respiratory issues, feeding issues, and more. Babies born earlier than 37 weeks are at an even higher risk for conditions, such as brain bleeds, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and more. Premature birth happens for a variety of reasons, but at this time there is no known cause for why some go into premature labor.
Arming yourself with facts is one of the best ways to spread awareness about prematurity. But experiencing prematurity is about so much more than facts.
It’s about emotions and hardships.
It can put some relationships at risk, while strengthening others.
It can bring people together. It can cause people to drift apart.
We asked NICU parents in our community what they would like people to know about prematurity awareness. Here are their answers.
“Please don’t assume that my son will have the same outcome as the person born premature in your life. Every preemie journey is different.” Katie D., Woodbury, MN
“Some NICU babies never come home.” Carissa L., Lodi, CA
“Prematurity doesn’t end at the NICU discharge—for parents or for kiddos!” Andrea L., Woodbury, MN
“That even though my (24 week only surviving triplet) preemie is almost 8 and appears typical for her age and is in 2nd grade on time, the struggles haven’t stopped, and health and school are still a major source of stress for her….and mom.” Sara B., Pittsburgh, PA
“It can happen to anyone.” Amanda C., San Antonio, TX
“PTSD is so real, and everyone heals differently at different times. I struggled silently for years before I realized what I was going through.” Brittany E., Tucson, AZ
What do YOU want people to know about prematurity? Drop us a line or join the discussion on Facebook.