PREMATURE BIRTH-CAUSES AND PREVENTIONS
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 201
The birth of a child is truly a miracle. From the moment most parents find out they have been blessed with the gift of life, expectations begin. Most parents wonder what their child will look like, whether the child is a boy or a girl, and in some cases, how many children will they be blessed with. Will their child be the next president of the United States or a gifted scientist who will discover the cure for some of medicine’s most devastating illnesses? Very few parents ever dream that the birth of their child could be one of the most stressful times in their lives. For the parents of a premature infant, this can be a nightmare from which the parents cannot awaken. The average length or gestation of an infant is 40 weeks. A child who is born between the 37th week and over of gestational length is considered to be full term birth. Any child who is born before the 37th week of gestation is considered to be premature. At the present time, 12% of all births are deemed as premature (Vlasselers, 2009, pg. 535.) Premature infants are also classified as premature (35-37 weeks of gestation,) moderately premature (30-34 weeks of gestation,) and extremely premature (25-30 weeks of gestation.) There are also children who are born at 22-25 weeks of gestation but changes of these infants surviving are very low. Those who do live are more likely to have serious health consequences that may require a life time of full time medical care. There are many reasons that some children are born before their expected due date. Some circumstances are preventable; others happen quickly and no warning is given before the birth occurs. Substance abuse, maternal health conditions, and even fertility treatments have all contributed to the issue of premature birth. Despite attempts to prevent...