Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bringing Awarness about Premature babies and RSV. World Prematurity/RSV Awareness Day!

November 17th 
World Prematurity / RSV Awareness Day

When a couple start a family they always dream of what their life will be like after baby arrives. They never think that something could go wrong, when in fact a lot of things can go wrong. 75% of all parents have no idea that a premature child can be born at 35 weeks gestation or sooner, In fact most people don't even think about it unless suddenly they have a premature baby in their life. This is surprising since there are 13 million preemie babies born each year, 500 thousand of them in the US alone. That's why I am writing to you today, I want to tell you a story in hope I can spread the word about November 17th which is World Prematurity Day.

Preemies are especially  near to my heart because I have a little girl in my life who is a miracle baby. The night Liberty was born her mother suffered through two seizures, unconscious she was rushed to the hospital. John was shocked when he was told that Nina was pregnant, and was suffering from preeclampsia, John and Nina didn't know they were expecting.. The preeclampsia was caused because the baby's urine was not being removed normally. It was  going into Nina's body and was killing her and the baby. The doctors were going to have to take the baby, chances were very high that the baby would die. Nina was about 6 months pregnant, Libby weighed two pounds at birth. They kept her in NCIU for two months when she was able to go home Liberty weighed only 4 pounds. Her head was the size of a small orange, she looked so fragile I was afraid to pick her up and hold her. The baby had fluid in the brain and a heart murmur. The doctors advised John and Nina that little Liberty's chances of normal mental development were slim. Libby had to go see a doctor every month until she was 1 1/2 years old and at 7 she still has to see a cardiologist once a year. While still in the hospital the doctors warned Nina and John of RSV, it's a common virus preemie parents should know about called respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. It is most active from November through March in North America. Most babies contract it by the time they are two years old and it acts much like the common cold. However when premature children contract it, the effects can be devastating  Liberty didn't have antibodies to fight off the infection should she contract it.. RSV is very contagious and can be passed around like the common cold through coughing, touching and sneezing. Because it is passed so easily it's the leading cause of infant hospitalization. Sadly it causes death ten times more than the flu. John and Nina were warned if Liberty caught it she would die, so they had her vaccinated for it. Liberty never contracted RSV, or if she did it was after she was able to fight it. Nina says a lot of parents are afraid of getting their babies vaccinated, however she and John feel that it is what helped to save their baby.

The reason RSV is so deadly to preemies is because their development is altered, their vital organs are not fully developed and they have trouble breathing. Preemies suffer from low birth weigh, and can have problems with certain lung and heart diseases. They are placed in incubators which protect the babies until they can survive on their own. They have tubes and wires stuck all over them leading to machines that are performing the functions their little bodies can't do yet.Sometimes these babies spend several months in NCIU. Parents of these babies feel lost and helpless, their dream of bringing a healthy baby home shattered.

Besides the babies lungs being underdeveloped, their immune systems are also not ready either. About 79% of all premature babies end up in the hospital with severe respiratory infections. Once contracted there is no real treatment for RSV so preemie parents need to be aware of symptoms and signs someone is sick around their babies. Be sure to wash hands, toys, play areas and bedding often. Have hand sanitizer on available and make sure everyone entering your home uses it. During the RSV season (November to March)  avoid crowded areas and people who are sick. NEVER let anyone smoke around your baby. Watch for signs of a cold, blue lips, mouth or fingernails, fevers and fatigue. If your child is at risk please speak to your doctor to about any preventative measures you can take.

To learn more about RSV, visit and for more about the specialized health needs of premature babies, visit

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."

Photo Credits:
Photo 1) EFCNI 
Photo 2) John and Nina
Photo 3)