Heathwatch: Premature Babies

One out of eight babies are born premature in the United States. They often require special care to keep them alive.

Early childbirth can be a scary reality for parents.

The earlier the baby, the higher risk for complications.

"My placenta broke away from my uterus and it caused me to go into premature labor," Crew said.

D'ondra Crew, like many mothers, helplessly watched her premature baby scramble to survive.

"I was 24 weeks when I had her," Crew said. "She's been through blood transfusions, she's had a very small infection"

Crew gave birth in the neonatal intensive care unit at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where specialized doctors and nurses work tirelessly to care for premature babies

"Unfortunately we still do not know completely what causes prematurity," Dr. Josefina Go said, Medical Director of NICU. "However, we do have certain contributing factors that the march of dimes has been tracking."

Those contributing factors include the number of uninsured women of childbearing age, mother's who still smoke while pregnant, and elective inductions and c-sections.

It''s very important also for everyone to realize that full term gestation is 39 completed weeks of pregnancy and there has been a initiative in place making sure that we do not do elective c-sections or inductions of labor prior to 39 weeks," Dr. Go said.

But for those who can't avoid premature labor, this West Tennessee mother offers some advice.

"I would tell them to pray and continue to pray and have faith and believe in the doctor's and to listen to the nurses because they know what they're doing," Crew said.

The Crew's little girl is now 3 months old and doing well.

All expecting mothers or anyone trying to get pregnant are encouraged to go to all check-ups from pre-pregnancy through birth.


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