Carla Ransom's baby, Alexandra, was born 7½ weeks early.
“She did have some problems with breathing and her heart rate – with what they call 'brady down' – and had to be on a caffeine drip for over a week,” Ransom said.
Duke researchers looked at how premature babies fare as they grow older. They learned some preemies face an increased risk of death into childhood compared with babies born full-term.
Swamy and her colleagues analyzed data from about 60,000 premature births in Norway. They also compared men and women, who were born pre-term, on how many of them became parents.
The reason is not clear, but possibly health problems or diminished cognitive ability could make it difficult for survivors of pre-term birth to find a mate.
It is not the best outcome for some pre-term babies' futures, but Ransom wants to know so that Alexandra will get the medical help she may need as she grows.
“As a parent of a pre-term baby, the more information you have, the more comfortable you are,” Ransom said.
Duke researchers said more studies are needed to find ways to prevent premature births.
The preemie study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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