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Babies born at 22 weeks ‘can now survive’

17 November 2019

Clinical Negligence, News

Recent articles in the papers have highlighted that doctors should attempt to save the lives of babies born as early as 22 weeks, new Guidelines say.

Katy Evans - Williamsons SolicitorsThe premature babies are so under-developed it was previously thought not to treat them. However, a review of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine found medical advances mean many can now be saved.

A Consultant Neonatologist who has helped draw up the guidance, said that since the previous guidance was published, advances in treatment meant doctors were trying to save the lives of some babies born at 22 weeks. He said the evidence from those cases had convinced BAPM to update its guidance.

The new guidelines say life-saving treatment should be considered at 22 weeks if the baby has “favourable risk factors”. This may mean they are towards the end of the 22nd week, of normal weight, female or a singleton, rather than a twin or more.

There are however warnings over disability risks, and some babies born at 22 weeks may develop disabilities as a result of their premature delivery.

However, it is possible in 2019 to save babies who could not previously have survived. There are a variety of reasons why the survival rates are increasing, which include better knowledge and research from the treating doctors, steroids given to boost lung function, techniques for ventilating and preventing infection, to name just a few.

To read more you can visit the BBC News website.

World Prematurity Day 2019

World Prematurity Day takes place every year on 17th November, and is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families.

Did you know

A pre-term birth is one that happens before 37 weeks completed weeks of pregnancy.

The definitions of the different stages of preterm birth are:

  • Extremely preterm – before 28 weeks.
  • Very preterm – from 28 weeks to 32 weeks.
  • Moderate to late pre-term – from 32 weeks to 37 weeks.

It is estimated that 1 in 13 babies in the UK will be more premature, which is roughly 60,000 babies a year.

world prematurity dayThe charity Bliss, work very hard on helping people who have experienced premature births, and continue to support research for significant improvements in the care and treatment of babies more premature or sick.

To read more the fantastic work they do, you can read more on their website www.bliss.org.uk

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