For a couple, pregnancy is the most beautiful gift that they could ever receive. A child that they get to bring unto this world that is extremely dangerous for a fragile newborn is the challenge that the couple has to go through, granted if their baby is normal. However, there is much more at stake and the challenge goes a notch higher when there are complications, such as having a premature baby or a neonate with a low birth weight.
Attention is drawn to this problem, the prevalence of premature and low birth weight infants, because there has been quite a number of infants born annually with this, nearly one out of eight infants (Surgeon General’s Conference Outlines Agenda to Prevent Preterm Birth). This estimate has cost the country around 26 billion dollars, and steps are now being taken to further develop programs in order to lower its prevalence (Surgeon General’s Conference Outlines Agenda to Prevent Preterm Birth).
Unfortunately for the parents of babies who are extremely premature or are low birth weight upon delivery have to cope up and prevent the imminent passing away of their children. Majority of the infants born prematurely or with low birth weights are prone to develop severe complications. A neonate is considered to be premature is the infant is born under the normal gestation period of 36 weeks. However, the extremely premature ones are born within the 22nd and the 25th week of gestation (NIH Study Reveals Factors That Influence Premature Infant Survival, Disability).
There are the fortunate ones who will survive this and grow old to lead a normal life, while there are some who will not make it outside the hospital. Others do make it out alive; however, they suffer a form of severe disability in the later years of life, including cerebral palsy and intellectual disability (NIH Study Reveals Factors That Influence Premature Infant Survival, Disability). However, if the infant is lower than 22 weeks old of gestation, the chances for survival is faint, and some parents choose to end the neonate’s life.
A study conducted among 4,000 low birth weight infants that aimed to determine which factors will most likely make the survival rate of these infants revealed that it was not just the gestational age of the infant that had the most effect on the infant’s survival, but also several other factors. These factors include giving the mothers corticosteroids, female neonates, single born and not of multiple birth, and higher birth weight, aside from having the gestational age of 25 weeks or older (NIH Study Reveals Factors That Influence Premature Infant Survival, Disability).
Some noted precautions that parents need to implement when their child is born with low birth weight and/or premature, include eliminating infection, early jaundice treatment, and should be discharged to home in a car bed. When infection is acquired, whether it was in the blood, brain or the intestines, the extremely low birth weight infants are more prone to have developmental impairments (Infection Puts Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants at Risk For Developmental Delays).
Preterm infants also have a chance of lowering their risk for brain injury if there is an early treatment for prevention of severe newborn jaundice (Earlier Jaundice Treatment Decreases Brain Injury In Preemies). Because premature infants have to be monitored for bradycardia or low heart rate and apnea or sudden halting in breathing for a few seconds, these premature infants should be discharged to their homes in a car bed instead of a car seat (Salhab et al). Multiple births can be a cause for premature infants and low birth weight infants.
Multiple births have become more common because of the technological advancements developed to make this possible. Ovulating-stimulating medications and assisted reproductive technologies are the artificial ways on how to make one’s pregnancy produce twins, triplets, among many others (High-Risk Pregnancy). Complications of multiple births include delivering earlier than usual and low birth weight, PIH or pregnancy-induced hypertension, anemia, birth defects, miscarriage, twin to twin transfusion, abnormal amounts of amniotic fluid, cesarean delivery, and postpartum hemorrhage (High-Risk Pregnancy).
An ethical problem that also concerns multiple births is the multifetal reduction process (High-Risk Pregnancy). When multiple births reach the number of 4 or more fetuses, the chances of complications suffered by these fetuses are high. When this occurs, the couple has the choice to reduce the number of living fetuses as long as the gestational age is below 12 weeks (PATIENT FACT SHEET Complications and Problems associated with Multiple Births). Having survived these, the costs of having multiple births has just begun.
Raising children all at the same time is tedious, not only for the caregiver of these children, but financially as well. Having two or more kids all at once means that whatever one child needs, you have to provide for the other or others too. Food, education, and other necessities needed by children nowadays do not just come at a low price. Being financially prepared and emotionally too show that parent’s assume the great responsibility that lie ahead.
Multiple births have been in the spotlight for some time now because of the increasing number of complications and technological advancements made for this kind of situation. An example of an organization that is working to make it easier for couples who have more than two children at once is the twins and multiple births association in the United Kingdom. They are campaigning for benefits if a family has multiple birth infants. This organization reaches out to these couples by suggesting a couple of methods that they could do to ensure that they get benefits for raising their children.
TAMBA mentions claiming child benefits for all the children, regardless of number, all at once (Guest Expert: Benefits After Multiple Births). They are also entitled to a Child Tax Credit (Guest Expert: Benefits After Multiple Births). Membership into the organization also allows the members to have certain discounts in stores selling baby equipment (Guest Expert: Benefits After Multiple Births). An organization like this will help couples with multiple birth infants cope up with their problems and make them feel that they are not alone in this.
However, in the United States, couples who have multiple births, low birth weight infants, or prematurely born neonates, have to pay for their own expenses. It helps if they have insurance, but if they do not have one, they are forced to borrow money or make means for this cause because the State does not pay for these kinds of expenses. In fact, it was theorized that the way the situation is for career women, they are not given the chance to experience motherhood at an early age. They need to work and climb up their respective career ladders especially if they want to give a nice future to their children.
This situation makes the reproductive age of working women later than the recommended of less than 35 years old to prevent complications. When there are conception problems, the couple turns to the latest technological advancements in reproduction, hence, the complications of multiple births, low birth weights and premature delivery. It’s a vicious cycle, and the children are paying for it. The problem does not actually lie in the couple’s decision to seek artificial reproductive methods, but in the way the society handles the problem.
If women are not criticized as much when they get pregnant at an earlier age, considering the body image problems and leaving work for awhile which mean being bypassed for promotion and other benefits, then maybe women will decide to bear children earlier and without complications. Let us not heartlessly eliminate children that are so much wanted by parents. Let us all try to be responsible Works Cited: “Earlier Jaundice Treatment Decreases Brain Injury In Preemies. ” National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 2008. National Institutes of Health and Human Development.
20 Dec 2008 <http://www. nichd. nih. gov/news/releases/oct29-08-Jaundice. cfm? from=sids>. “Guest Expert: Benefits After Multiple Births. ” Raising Kids. 2008. Twins and multiple births association . 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. raisingkids. co. uk/0_1/guest_tamba_02. asp>. “High-Risk Pregnancy . ” healthsystem. 2004. University of Virginia. 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. healthsystem. virginia. edu/uvahealth/peds_hrpregnant/multiple. cfm>. “Infection Puts Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants at Risk For Developmental Delays. ” National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 2004.
National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. nichd. nih. gov/news/releases/infection_birth. cfm>. “NIH Study Reveals Factors That Influence Premature Infant Survival, Disability. ” National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 2008. National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. nichd. nih. gov/news/releases/april16_2008. cfm>. “PATIENT FACT SHEET Complications and Problems associated with Multiple Births. ” AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE. 2008. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
20 Dec 2008 <http://www. asrm. org/Patients/FactSheets/complications_multiplebirths. pdf>. Salhab WA, Khattak A, Tyson JE, et al. , “Very-Low Birth Weight Infants: Car Seat or Car Bed?. ” Journal of Pediatrics 1502007 224-228. 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. medscape. com/viewarticle/557149>. “Surgeon General’s Conference Outlines Agenda to Prevent Preterm Birth. ” National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 2008. National Institutes of Health and Human Development. 20 Dec 2008 <http://www. nichd. nih. gov/news/releases/june192008_Surgeon_Generals_Agenda. cfm? from=sids>.