November 17 is World Prematurity Day
17th November 2023 marks World Prematurity Day. An estimated 13.4million babies worldwide were born prematurely in 2020, approximately 58,000 of those babies were born here in the UK. Premature babies are those born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, within these statistics are those born extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks), very preterm (28-32weeks) and moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks). The latest data shows that the number of premature babies is actually increasing.
What complications can arise from a premature birth?
Medical advances mean that more premature babies than ever before reach adulthood but there can be serious, long-lasting implications. Complications of a premature birth include underdeveloped lungs, bleeding in the brain, inflammation of the intestines, sepsis, heart problems and underdeveloped blood vessels in the eyes. Premature babies are also at higher risk of health issues, such as cerebral palsy, hearing problems, vision problems, learning disabilities and poor growth.
Some premature births occur spontaneously but others occur as a result of untreated infections, problems with the placenta or cervix, pre-eclampsia, and diabetes. It’s important to make sure that you receive proper antenatal care to minimise the risks and monitor both you and your baby closely.
If you have any concerns, you should have been given emergency contact numbers and it is important to use them. If you have experienced a premature rupture of your membranes (‘waters’) treatments are available both to delay your labour and to protect your baby. Treatment includes antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, steroid injections to help your baby’s lungs develop and magnesium sulphate once you are in labour, which can reduce the risk of your baby developing cerebral palsy if they are born very prematurely.
We’re experts at dealing with clinical negligence claims
Here at Been Let Down our team of solicitors have experience dealing with claims relating to both opportunities to prevent or delay premature birth, such as the placement of a cervical cerclage or suture and failures to provide the right treatment during labour, such as administering magnesium sulphate to reduce the risk of cerebral palsy.
If you have any concerns about the treatment, you or your baby received, please contact us today to find out whether you can bring a clinical negligence claim. Our approach and success has also seen us recently ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for clinical negligence.
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- World Health Organisation