Shamna Sherin

Health Complications in Extreme Prematurity: What Parents Should Know


The birth of a premature baby can be a challenging and emotional experience for parents, especially when the baby is born extremely premature. Babies born before 28 weeks of gestation, also known as extremely preterm babies, face a higher risk of health complications due to their underdeveloped organs and systems. As a parent of an extremely premature baby, understanding these potential complications can help you navigate the journey ahead with greater awareness and preparedness.

1. Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS):

One of the most common complications in extremely premature babies is Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This condition arises due to underdeveloped lungs and a lack of surfactant, a substance that helps keep the air sacs in the lungs open. Babies with RDS may experience rapid breathing, grunting, and bluish skin due to poor oxygenation. They often require respiratory support, such as mechanical ventilation or surfactant replacement therapy.

2. Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH):

Extremely preterm infants are at an increased risk of intraventricular hemorrhage, which is bleeding into the brain's ventricles. The blood accumulation can disrupt brain development and lead to long-term neurological issues. The severity of IVH varies, and regular brain imaging scans are often performed to monitor the condition.

3. Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC):

NEC is a serious gastrointestinal condition that primarily affects premature infants. It involves inflammation and damage to the intestines, which can lead to infection and tissue death. Symptoms may include feeding intolerance, bloating, and a swollen abdomen. Prompt medical intervention is crucial to manage NEC effectively.

4. Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP):

The eyes of extremely premature babies are still developing, and they are at risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity, a condition characterized by abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina. Severe cases can lead to vision impairment or blindness. Regular eye exams and, in some cases, laser treatment may be necessary.

5. Chronic Lung Disease (Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia):

Babies born extremely premature often require prolonged oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation, which can lead to chronic lung disease. This condition, known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, can affect lung development and function, potentially causing long-term respiratory issues.

6. Developmental Delays:

The earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of developmental delays. Extremely preterm infants might experience delays in motor skills, cognitive development, language acquisition, and social interactions. Early intervention services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and developmental assessments, can help address these challenges.

7. Infections:

Premature infants have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. Special care is taken to prevent infections in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including strict hygiene practices and limited exposure to outsiders.


While the challenges associated with extreme prematurity can be overwhelming, advances in medical care and technology have improved the survival rates and outcomes for these tiny fighters. As a parent, staying informed about potential complications can help you work closely with professional Premature Care in Coimbatore to provide the best possible care for your extremely premature baby. Remember that every child's journey is unique, and while there may be obstacles to overcome, there is also hope for a bright future ahead.

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