When I was pregnant with Pinky it was a high risk pregnancy, I had high blood pressure and the risk for having to be induced prematurely was a huge worry. Thankfully I made it to exactly 37 weeks and had to be rushed in to be induced. Now, here I am 28 weeks along in my second pregnancy and so far my blood pressure has been perfectly normal and I pray that it stays that way. Even though this pregnancy has been much easier and so far I’m not considered high risk, I still worry about it. More than 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day to help build awareness and help parents to understand the increased risks that come with a premature baby and the special health care that preemies require. Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb and often stunts the growth of some of the most critical organs. Because of the increased risk of medical complications preemies face weeks or even months in the NICU. This includes the lungs and makes them more susceptible to respiratory problems. 79 percent of preemies end up hospitalized due to a sever respiratory infection. One of these infections is respiratory syncytial virus, otherwise known as RSV. By the age of 2 nearly all children have contracted RSV which usually only has minor symptoms like that of a cold. However, when a preemie gets the virus they are at a much higher risk for developing more serious symptoms because of their underdeveloped lungs and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.
Here are some important quick facts that parents should know about RSV:
RSV Quick Facts
• RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
• RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
• In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
Prevention is Key
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
Know the Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
• Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
• Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
• High fever and extreme fatigue
Having almost been in the situation of having a preemie I educated myself on all the things I could do to help prevent it and knowing the symptoms so I could take quick action. As moms we all worry but knowing the facts and being able to act quickly in the event something does happen can make all the difference.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.