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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Medical Journal 2011

KENNEBEC JOURNAL •

Morning Sentinel

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Today Robert Horton, left, is a strong and healthy 10-year old boy. He was born at 23 1/2 weeks on December 25, 2000, above, at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Preterm babies survive at younger ages Statistics show that Massachusetts, Maine and Nebraska reported the three greatest increases in the nation during One of the most prevalent health those years. issues confronting women, infants, and One in every eight babies in families today is preterm birth. Most America is born preterm. pregnancies last about 40 weeks. Approximately 1,500 preterm babies Babies born between 32 and 37 weeks are born in Maine each month. of pregnancy are referred to as preterm. Preterm birth remains a leading Those born at 32 weeks are early cause of infant mortality during the preterm. first month of life. However, due to America’s preterm birth rate skyadvances in medicine more preterm rocketed between 1992 and 2002. Data babies are now surviving and at earlier from the NationalCenter for Health ages. BY WANDA CURTIS Correspondent

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ educational pamphlet “Early Preterm Birth,” a single course of corticosteroids prescribed for mothers in preterm labor between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy greatly increases chances of a preterm baby’s survival. Corticosteroids help preterm babies’ lungs and other organs mature. One of the earliest preterm survivors in recent years, is three-year old Sonja Taylor, who USA Today reported was born at just under 22 weeks in the

womb. She was an in vitro fertilization baby. While many physicians don’t attempt to resuscitate babies born at that age, Sonja had several advantages, including being an African American female. Researchers report that female babies have a higher survival rate than males and African American females have the highest survival rate of all preterm babies. It was also to Sonja’s advantage that More on PRETERM, Page 21

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