Effects of Premature Birth

One of the most common effects of premature birth is Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Immature lungs are inelastic. Immature lungs lack surfactant, which helps to keep the lungs inflated with air. The baby struggles for oxygen. Breathing becomes too rapid. Without proper care the infant may suffer:

  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Pneumonia
  • Infections
  • Learning disabilities
  • Cerebral palsy

When a baby is born fewer than 28 weeks into pregnancy, he or she may have an extremely low birth weight. When born prematurely, a baby will typically need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit. While there, medical teams may be able to watch for and treat RDS and potentially decrease the long-term effects of premature birth.

Statistics About the Effects of Premature Birth

There are some effects of premature birth that are typical to the age of the fetus when born. According to The March of Dimes, between 23 and 26 weeks, every extra day in the womb increases a baby’s chance of survival by 2 – 4 percent. About 9 out of 10 babies born at 28 weeks survive, but many of them have serious health problems such as vision and hearing problems, feeding and digestive problems, respiratory problems and cerebral palsy. Babies born earlier than 23 weeks have a much smaller chance of survival as they haven’t developed enough to survive on their own. Children born closer to term (34-36 weeks gestation) have fewer long-term effects of premature birth.

Some common effects of premature birth include:

  • Feeding immaturity
  • Temperature instability
  • Prolonged jaundice (symptom of liver trouble)
  • Language disorders
  • Attention deficits
  • Slower development
  • Behavioral issues
  • Infections
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Mental retardation

Seeking Legal Help

At Sokolove Law we have over 30 years experience representing families in birth injury cases resulting from medical negligence. Sometimes, the effects of premature birth can be minimized with proper medical care. We may be able to help you get the money you need to care for your child. Take the first step by completing the form to the right or by contacting us. You’ll have the opportunity to speak with a nurse case manager about what happened. There is no obligation and it is completely free.