If your baby is born prematurely, take heart and try to remember that there’s never been a safer time to be born prematurely.
Professor Lucilla Poston, head of maternal and foetal research at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, says: ‘A lot of babies are now being born at 24-26 weeks and once they would never have survived.’
There are cases of babies surviving as young as 22 weeks too. The world’s most premature surviving baby was born at 21 weeks and six days.
Although the later your baby is born, the better her chances, even babies born between 22 and 25 weeks may still have a good long-term outlook. Research shows that by the time they are two and a half years old, nearly half of these early surviving prem babies had no disability and a quarter had only mild disability.
Most prem babies need to go to a special care unit, where they may have help with breathing via a ventilator, drugs to mature their lungs and antibiotics fed via a drip or nasal gastric tube.
Once your baby is breathing on her own and feeding well, and as long as there are no other problems, you’ll be able to take her home, usually at 40 to 42 weeks.
Call the free BLISS Family Support helpline on 0500 618 140 for more information