What is Premature Birth, and Why Is It So Dangerous?
A baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature. While prematurity might not seem like a life-threatening medical issue, research indicates that it is. In fact, premature birth is the second leading cause of death among newborns worldwide, after pneumonia. Dr. Joy Lawn, co-author of the Born Too Soon study, a study on premature birth trends worldwide, had this to say: “Being born to soon is an unrecognized killer. There has been much progress in pneumonia [treatment and prevention], but preterm birth has not been on anyone’s ‘to do’ list.”
Preterm birth can cause many different kinds of life-threatening complications for newborns. Respiratory issues like apnea are common among premature babies; so are heart and brain development issues, jaundice, anemia, and infection.
Those babies who do survive premature birth are at greater risk for developing long-term, permanent complications as a result of being born too early. Those complications include permanent vision and hearing loss, chronic lung problems, cerebral palsy, and autism.
Who is Affected By Premature Birth?
Premature birth is a global epidemic, according to new research. It reflects pregnant mothers of every color and creed, in every county around the world. Both underdeveloped and developed nations are at risk.
While women in every country around the world are at risk for preterm birth, the rates of newborn survival after premature birth vary greatly from country to country. In developed nations, like the United States, for example, only about 10% of premature babies die as a result of their preterm birth. In underdeveloped nations, however, the rates can be much higher — as high as 90%.
This huge difference is a result of unequal access to quality medical care; babies born in developed nations are more likely to have higher quality medical care, while babies born in developing nations don’t. Those babies are far more likely to die of infection and malnutrition.
What Causes Premature Birth?
The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Truth is, it depends on where you live. In underdeveloped countries, premature birth is often caused by infection and disease. In developed nations, however, the causes are radically different. In developed countries like the U.S., preterm birth has been linked to obesity, by older age in mothers, and by pregnancy with multiples due to fertility treatments.
Some risk factors depend on a mother’s location; others don’t. Stress, for example, crosses geographic and socioeconomic lines, and high levels of stress put a mother at risk for preterm delivery.
Overall, factors that contribute to premature birth include:
Smoking during pregnancy
Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy
Poor prenatal care
Physical abnormalities of uterus
Pregnancy with multiples
High stress levels
Obesity and obesity-related conditions (high blood pressure)
Multiple miscarriages or abortions
Increased age of mother
Social factors related to mother (poverty, lack of education, etc.)
Early Cesarean sections
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to enjoy a Sunday ride and help those born too early and too small.
On behalf of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation, we would like to say "THANK YOU" for making the "Splant Charity Ride" a wonderful success.
A very special thanks to Diane, Gail, Pam and family, Dina, Brian and Judi, Joanne, Rhonda, Jim and Chelsea, Sandy and Crew and White Rhino for hosting the event. In addition, we would also like to extend our appreciation to Marti's Place, Cronie's, Wooden Nickel, Drunken Monkey, The Hill, Family, Friends, and the volunteers.
We would also like to acknowledge and thank the event T-Shirt Sponsors:
Concordia Group, Ltd.
Spectrum Show Services
The Hill Tavern
White Rhino Bar & Grill
We cannot forget the local businesses that made donations to help us raise additional funds for local families. A big thanks to:
Avon, Calumet Bakery, Calumet Harley, Cronie's, Family Flyer, Finnegan's, Hands on Car Wash, Hooters – Schererville, Kennan's Liquors, Lencioni's Catering, Marti's Place, Robs Meat Chop and Deli, Strack & Van Til - Schererville, Texas Roadhouse, SureFire Tattoos and White Rhino.
On January 3rd, the Foundation made a $2,500 donation to Community Hospital's NICU to provide Halo Sleepsacks for those born too early and too small. "We are forever grateful to Community Hospital and all they do for premature babies and families" said Phil Splant. The Foundation looks forward to many more years of giving back.
Our visit to the NICU also included Nathan's 10th year birthday celebration (born January 10th, 2004) with the nurses and doctors.
On May 4th the Penegor Family participated in a half marathon (13.1 miles) and had chosen the Foundation as recipients to help support premature children and their families.
The Foundation has received $2,126. We are very thankful and truly appreciate the donations made "In Honor of Henry". The monies raised will enhance the Halo Sleepsack Program and support those babies and families in the Neo-Natal Intensive Unit (NICU) of local hospitals.
Join us and Make a Difference! The Foundation has partnered with Planet Green to help raise money for the Foundation and to help dispose of e-waste properly. We are collecting old or used inkjet cartridges, cell phones, cameras, laptops, PDA's, GPS Systems, MP3's, etc. There is 3 ways you can help - start a collection box for the Foundation as a fundraiser, put a collection box at your business location, or contact us directly for a pick up.
Proceeds will benefit the Nathan C. Splant Foundation - helping premature children and their families. For additional information, please contact the collection coordinator at 219.365.5800.
MUNSTER | When Nathan C. Splant arrived 15 weeks prematurely on Jan. 10, 2004 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Community Hospital, he weighed less than 2 pounds and was 12 inches long.
Today, he is a healthy, happy 10-year-old, but his parents, Phil and Kimberly Splant, of St. John, have never forgotten the health care team that made their dream of having a child a reality.
In gratitude, the Splant family continues to enhance the lives of those touched by prematurity through the auspices of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation. The foundation looks to make a significant difference in the lives of those born too early and too small through its grant giving program, special event fundraisers and Helping Hands for Preemies campaign.
“If Nathan only realized what took place back then and how hard all these wonderful people worked on him,” Phil Splant said. “We are glad to be able to give back to help.”
The latest donation, $2,500, will help Community Hospital nurses spread the message of safe sleep practices and also provide HALO SleepSacks™ to babies in the hospital’s NICU.
“Our family couldn’t have done it without the dedication and compassion of all those involved with Nathan’s recovery – the doctors, nurses, therapists and special program aides,” Kim Splant said.
Nurse educators, including Mary Puntillo, RNC-NIC, RNC-LRN, neonatal clinician at Community Hospital, have been spreading the message of safe sleeping methods for babies in an effort to move Lake County out of the position as the Indiana county with the highest number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. SUIDs, for the most part, are preventable and are a result of unsafe sleep practices.
“Safe sleep practices are taught from the get go,” Puntillo said. “We are committed to spreading the message of “baby ‘Back’ to Sleep; By Myself; in a Naked Crib.” New moms are seeing it; hearing it from the moment baby is born, and we’re teaching it in our communities with Taking Care of Baby and Grandparent classes,” Puntillo said.
JOLIET, IL - December 13, 2012 - The Foundation was selected and recognized for our notable contributions to the community and awarded a $2,000 grant through the R.A.C.E. grant process in conjunction with Chicagoland Speedway 501c3 Foundation.
Pictured Nicole Meagher, Phil Splant, Kimberly Splant and Scott Paddock
The grant will provide HALO Sleepsacks for babies in the NICU through our Halo Project and Prematurity Awareness Campaign.
Every year, 543,000 babies - one out of eight - are born prematurely. Making prematurity the leading cause of death among newborns.
As part of the Foundation's Prematurity Awareness Month initiatives, the Foundation is hosting a "Helping Hands for Preemies" campaign throughout the months of October and November and accepting applications for its "grant giving program" to any person or family throughout Northwest Indiana (Lake and Porter County) and Cook County of Illinois facing a burden resulting from a premature birth (14 weeks gestation to 36 weeks gestation). Applications and eligibility information is available on-line at http://www.ncsplantfoundation.org/grants.html
The Foundation has once again partnered with Culver's to support this program and raise prematurirty awareness in the Schererville and Valparaiso locations throughout the month of October. Culver's in Schererville will also include a "Family Day" on November 15th to celebrate Prematurity Awareness Day throughout the world. 10% of the proceeds (with a meal purchase and submission of a coupon) will benefit the Foundation to enhance this program.
The local business community (Advanced Dental - Dyer, Bottom's Up, Culver's - Schererville, Engine Room, Spanky's Bar & Grill and White Rhino) will also be participating throughout the month of November - Prematurity Awarness Month. Participating businesses will offer a handprint cut-out in recognition to individuals who make a donation.
Proceeds from the Helping Hands for Preemies program will enhance our Halo Sleepsack Project. And help spread the message of safe sleep practices by providing HALO SleepSacksTM for micro-preemie babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of local hospitals.
Please consider making a donation today and join us to make a difference to those born too early and too small.
MUNSTER - Nurse educators at Community Hospital are raising greater community awareness of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths because of caring parents Kim and Philip Splant and a contribution from the Nathan C. Splant Foundation.
A $2,500 donation from the Splant Foundation will help spread the message of safe sleep practices and provide HALO SleepSacksTM for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Community Hospital, where the Splant's son, Nathan, was born prematurely, weighing only 1 lb. 9 oz.
"We're taking this opportunity to give back," said dad Philip Splant, of St. John. "We hope that others will beneft from our story - our miracle."
Hospital nurses first sprang into action after discovering a sobering statistic - in 2009, Lake County recorded the highest number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths in the state.
SUIDS, for the most part, are preventable and are a result of unsafe sleep practices, according to First Candle, on of the nation's leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the survival of babies through the first years of life. First Candle recommends a wearable blanket, called a HALO SleepSack TM to help reduce risk factors associated with SUIDS and replace loose blankets in a crib.
Neonatal nurse clinician Mary Puntillo has been helping spread the message of "baby 'Back' to Sleep; By Myself; in a Naked Crib" in the hospital's nurseries and in classes offered to the public.
Today, Nathan Splant is a healthy, happy 8-year old. "Our family coundn't have done in it without the dedication and compassion of all those involved with Nathan's recovery - the doctors, nurses, thereapists and special program aides," mom Kim Splant said.
in appreciation, the Splant family returns to Community Hospital to make special deliveries on behalf of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation.
Low-birth weight babies are at risk for all sorts of motor and cognitive delays, and researchers have just added autism to the list. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania finds that premature babies weighing less than 4.5 lbs. at birth are five times more likely than babies born at a normal weight to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Routine screening for ASD is especially critical in light of medical advances that regularly save babies as little as 1 lb. "It's a public health red flag," says Jennifer Pinto-Martin, director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and the study's lead author. "We have a wave of these children coming down the pike because neonatal care has improved so dramatically. We are saving more and more babies, and the consequences for their health are going to be profound."
The conclusions, which are published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are the results of a study that began more than two decades ago. Researchers initially followed 1,105 children who were born in three New Jersey counties between 1984 and 1987, some of whom weighed just a pound at birth.
Researchers evaluated the children at ages 2, 6, 9, 16 and 21, looking each time at different outcomes — behavioral, academic and psychiatric, to name a few. At age 16, they screened the children for autism. What they found was surprising: 117 of the 623 children screened positive, while 506 screened negative.
"It was very high, and we thought we had a great opportunity to really evaluate them for autism with a diagnostic test," says Pinto-Martin, who is also a professor in the School of Nursing at Penn.
That's exactly what Martin did when the preemies turned 21. She was able to catch up with 70 of the 117 who had screened positive and 119 of the 506 who had been negative. It was important to evaluate both groups thoroughly using diagnostic tests because screening tools are not 100% accurate.
They wound up with a total of 14 cases of ASD, which equates to five times the rate of autism reported in the general population. "CDC data says it's about 1% in 8-year-olds, and we found it to be 5% in 21-year-olds," says Pinto-Martin.
Alycia Halladay, director of environmental research for Autism Speaks, said the study was particularly interesting because it focused on older children as opposed to most autism research, which looks at younger kids. "What's interesting is the 16-year-olds showed a very different profile than other children," says Halladay. "These kids, on average, tended to have a higher IQ than a different study that tracked all kids with autism. So maybe low-birthweight children have a different developmental course."
It's possible that children born at low birthweights have a variety of additional disabilities — language disorders, for example, or mental retardation — that have may have masked an ASD diagnosis in the years before autism awareness increased. To make sure cases of autism aren't overlooked, Pinto-Martin advises routine screening for ASD be institutionalized as part of pediatric primary care. At Penn, researchers are working on using trained pediatric nurses in this role.
"There's so much that needs to fit into a pediatric visit that developmental concerns may not get brought up," she says. "The same way we make sure every kid gets screened for hearing, we need to make sure that every kid gets screened for autism spectrum disorders."
Parents, for their part, shouldn't be overly alarmed, but they should be certain to have their child evaluated as they develop. "Five percent is not 50% but if you a suspicion as a parent, you are probably right. Don't take wait-and-see as an answer," says Pinto-Martin.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Kindergartners who were born extremely prematurely are much more likely to have learning problems than their peers who were born at term, even if they do not have overall intellectual impairment, new research shows.
Yet more than a third of children in the study with learning problems were not enrolled in special education programs, Dr. H. Gerry Taylor of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and his colleagues found.
The results underscore the importance of continuing to track these children as they reach preschool and school age, to monitor them for learning difficulties and provide interventions as needed, Dr. Taylor told Reuters Health.
Children born before 28 weeks of pregnancy or weighing less than 1,000 grams now routinely survive, but with a high risk of developmental problems, the researchers write in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Their study focused on 148 extremely preterm children born at their center from 2001 to 2003 and a comparison group of 111 classmates who were born at term and at normal birth weight.
The preemies had lower average scores on spelling and math tests, the researchers found.
Just over half of them weren't testable or did not reach basic levels in arithmetic, compared to 21 percent of the kindergartners in the comparison group. And teachers were four times as likely to rate the preterm kids as having substandard learning progress in written languages, and seven times as likely to give them substandard learning progress reports in math.
Among the 70 preemies who scored below 85 -- with 85 to 115 considered the "normal" range -- on one or more achievement tests, 26 did not have an individual education plan.
In the extremely preterm kids, delayed development at 20 months was a risk factor for learning problems in kindergarten, Taylor noted. Other risk factors for learning problems in these children included a poorer family and being born before 25 weeks of pregnancy.
"The study was designed to really focus on kindergarten because of the importance of identifying problems early and hopefully intervening to stave off problems that might develop," Taylor said.
He added that performance in kindergarten is the best way to predict future academic success. "I'd prefer that we go back even further and start working with these kids on their developmental skills as preschoolers."
Frequently, Taylor said, health providers stop following preemies by the time they are two or three years old.
"There can occur a kind of disconnect at that point," he added. "Families may not always be aware of the need for continued follow-up as the kids approach school age."
Taylor said one way to ensure continued monitoring for these children is to make sure they have a "medical home." And keeping track of them at school would not be difficult.
"Teachers are actually quite aware of children's learning problems," he explained. "A very effective way to screen would be simply to ask how children are progressing in the curriculum."
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/pk58K8 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, September, 2011.
The longest-running U.S. study of the effects of being born premature is a mixed bag of bad and good news: while the effects of prematurity can persist into adulthood, babies born too early are largely evolving into children and adults who are remarkably resilient.
On the one hand, premature babies struggle more in school and social situations, are less healthy and stand a greater chance of having heart-related problems as adults. But despite that, premature babies are also driven to succeed, a characteristic that can be encouraged by nurturing parents and supportive school environments.
Some of the preliminary findings from the latest phase of research include:
Babies who suffered medical and neurological effects of pre-term birth had up to a 32% increased risk of asthma, vision problems and trouble with fine motor and hand-eye coordination.
Babies born weighing less than 2.2 pounds had worse pulmonary outcomes and higher resting blood pressure than those who were heavier.
Data from children who were age 17 suggests that the pre-term group has poorer health, growth and neurological outcomes than those who were born full term.
Being a boy and a of low birth weight affects breathing when they reach early adulthood.
Even pre-term babies who don't have significant medical or neurological conditions are unlikely to escape some impact of prematurity. They don't seem to have as many friends as healthy, full-term babies. Boys, in particular, struggle more in school.
Learning disabilities, for example, may not manifest themselves until at least second grade. At least 30% of premature infants needed special academic accommodations at some point during their time in school.
Pre-term babies with parents who advocated for them in school also did better academically, socially and physically. Parents who are observant, but not overprotective, are the most effective advocates for their children when it comes to negotiating the health-care and school systems in order to help their child get the services they need.
Being born premature may put kids at a slight disadvantage when it comes to certain developmental milestones, but that doesn't mean they can't make up for them with the proper support.
INDIANAPOLIS - The five-year Indiana State Health Improvement Plan focuses on several health priorities, as well as key improvements that, when achieved, will significantly impact the health in Indiana. Goals and objectives relating to these priorities, as well as suggested strategies comprise the health improvement plan.
The six health priorities are - assuring food safety, reducing healthcare associated infections, and reducing the burden of HIV, sexually transmitted disease's, and Viral Hepatitis, as well as infant mortality, obesity and tobacco. use.
Infant mortality represents what is determined to have significant influence on health and illness in Indiana and align with selected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health priorities as identified by Dr. Thomas Frieden. In addition, each is influenced by associated behavioral, environmental, and social contextual factors.
Reduce Infant Mortality by decreasing the percentage of preterm births in Indiana
INFANT MORTALITY RATES IN INDIANA
Rates per 1,000 live births
Source: Indiana State Department of Health, Epiemiology Resource Center,
Data Analysis Team
Infant mortality rates in Indiana are some of the highest in the nation. An increase in overall infant mortality rates in Indiana occurred from 1998 to 2004, with a steady decline more recently from 2004 to 2007. White infant mortality rates demonstrate a similar trend, peaking at a rate of 6.9 infants per 1,000 in 2004 and 2005, with a decline to 6.5 in 2007. Black infant mortality rates, however, continue to reveal significant disparities. While overall black infant mortality rates have decreased from 17.1 to 15.7 over the past decade, the nearly triple rate when compared to white is a significant concern in Indiana. The neonatal period remains paramount with regard to efforts to reduce infant mortality in the state, as a significant number of infant deaths during this period may be prevented with preconception and prenatal care.
In addition, Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates during pregnancy of all states. Likewise, almost 11% of births in Indiana are preterm and nearly 9% of infants born in Indiana are of low birth weight.
Schererville, IN -June 25, 2011) - Despite the chance for rain, the Racing for Babies fundraiser was a great success! On behalf of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation and the #52 Late Model, we would like to say "THANKYOU"!
A special thanks to Mike Mikuly, Rhonda and Illiana Motor Speedway for hosting the event. In addition, we would also like to extend our appreciation to Karen Miller, Jeremy (track announcer), family, friends, the volunteers, the "Crew", Sponsor a Lap Donations, Hooters of Schererville, Texas Roadhouse (food donation), U-Haul/Chicago Assembly (truck donation) and Five Star Race Car Bodies (race car hood donation).
We would also like to acknowledge and thank the event T-Shirt Sponsors:
Chicago's Finest Ironworks
Continental Languages, LLC
In Memory of JImmy Miller
Pick-ups Bar & Grill
Schepel Buick GMC
White Rhino Bar & Grill
We would also like to thank the following businesses for their event donations:
Avon - Sandy Justice Rep, Build-A-Bear, Bulls/White Sox Training Academy, Butterfingers, Cabella's, Casey's General Store, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Wolves, Coldstone Creamery, Culver's of Schererville, Deep River Waterpark, Disney Parks, Easy Clean Car Wash, Express Care, Family Flyer, Fathead, Hands On Car Wash, Holiday World, Hoosier Racing Tires, Indianapolis Colts, Lisa Thomas Salon, Museum of Science & Industry, Park Lane Hobbies, Penske Racing, RaceDriverCards.com, Railcats, Shedd Aquarium, Starbuck's, Strack & Van Til, The Times - Marlene Zloza, Talladega Speedway and Walt’s Food Center.
CEDAR LAKE | Forget Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, Lincoln Elementary School students had their own celebrity last week.
Nathan Splant, a first-grader at the Cedar Lake school, topped everyone at "show-and-tell" by bringing his dad, Philip Splant, a local businessman and part-time race car driver.
Youngsters gathered around the driver and his No. 52 racer in the school parking lot to hear about what it's like to drive fast in a cool car. Splant talked about the equipment he uses and the car, and patiently signed autographs.
The annual visit also promoted the Nathan C. Splant Foundation's Fifth Annual Racing for Babies fundraiser, set for Saturday at Illiana Motor Speedway, 7211 U.S. 30, Schererville. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $12 and children under 7 are admitted free.
The Foundation was presented with a check from Culver's Schererville for $1,088 for our February 14th Helping Hands for Preemies Campaign. The money raised will purchase over 200 Halo Sleepsacks for the NICU's of local hospitals. Thanks you Culver's for your continued support and to all those that stopped by!
On Saturday, September 20th, the Foundation donated $500 at a benefit for Hope Jendreas. Hope and her family are dealing with challenges as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by her premature birth at 28 weeks gestation (Valentine's Day in 2005). The money raised will help purchase a new wheelchair.
Nathan C Splant Foundation Inc
Workforce Development Services, Inc. / Child Care Resource and Referral Program (WDS/CCRR) believes in improving the quantity, the quality and the accessibility of child care to meet the needs of the culturally diverse children and families in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County communities of Northwest Indiana.
WDS/CCRR helps parents find child care, supports families to raise healthy children, helps providers to become licensed and provides ongoing professional development. WDS/CCRR can provide guidance tailored to each individual family by phone, in person and on the internet. For additional information, visit www.wdsccrr.org..
About Speical Kids (ASK) is the place for families and professionals in Indiana to go to "ASK" questions about children with special needs and to access information and resources about a variety of topics such as health insurance, special education, community resources and medical homes. ASK is the connection to family support in the state of Indiana and are committed to helping families access the resources and support they need to ensure the success of their children. For additional information, visit www.aboutspecialkids.org.
This complimentary eBook was created to reassure, encourage and support the Parents and their Families who hold the littlest hands of the nearly 400,000 newborn babies admitted each year to intensive care nurseries or neonatal intensive care units. Follow the links to get your copy of this Free eBook.
CaringBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing free websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery (i.e. premtaure birth and other neonatal-related conditions).
A CaringBridge website is personal, private and available 24/7. It keeps family and friends informed by adding health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love and support in their guestbook.