Expectant mothers in Pittsburgh hope for a safe and problem-free delivery. In the event of a premature birth, there are a number of serious complications that can occur that can imperil the health and well-being of both mother and child. These complications can even prove life-threatening in some instances, and accordingly must be taken seriously by hospital staff.
According to the Mayo Clinic, premature birth complications are divided into two categories. In terms of short-term complications (which typically present within the first few weeks after birth), gastrointestinal issues can occur. This includes a condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis, which results from an inability of the gastrointestinal system to mature properly before birth. Other short-term complications can include heart defects, hypothermia and jaundice.
Long-term complications are another concern, and many of these issues can result in a diminished quality of life. Some premature babies are plagued by chronic health conditions throughout their lives, as well as potentially suffering from an impaired mental capacity that can make learning and other tasks exceedingly difficult. There is also an increased risk of developing cerebral palsy, which impacts movement and muscle tone.
As stated by the March of Dimes, approximately one out of ten births in the U.S. is premature. These babies can suffer from complications such as respiratory distress syndrome, which is caused by a lack of a certain protein integral to keeping air sacs from deflating. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is another lung condition that can affect premature births. This can cause fluid to accumulate within the lungs, which in turn can lead to scarring and other issues.