Prematurity Awareness Month is observed in November, to raise awareness of preterm birth, which occurs in roughly 12% of women in the United States. Any birth before 37 weeks is considered premature. It’s important to see your doctor as soon as you are pregnant, and at scheduled times throughout your pregnancy. The earlier the delivery, the higher the risk for the baby. Though, now, with modern information and technology, babies born as early as 23 weeks have been saved.
Krystina was all too familiar with premature birth. Two of her grandparents, multiple family members, her mom and Krystina herself were born prematurely.
Krystina was born seven weeks early, and her mom almost died in the process. Krystina weighed in at only 3 pounds, 3 ounces and spent a couple of months in the neonatal intensive care unit. At 11 months old, Krystina weighed only 11 pounds. Now, more than 30 years later, Krystina is a healthy adult who has had two preemies of her own.
Her son was born four weeks early. Her daughter’s birth happened even earlier. Krystina had a textbook pregnancy with her son, up until the last trimester when she developed high blood pressure. Because of this, during her pregnancy with her daughter, she began monitoring her blood pressure at home. Once again, all was fine — until the third trimester when her blood pressure started rising again.
One morning, Krystina’s blood pressure was much higher than usual. She called her doctor, who told her to go to the hospital. Once there, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that can be very dangerous; high blood pressure is one of the signs. After being admitted, her blood pressure stayed elevated, so the decision was made to deliver her baby.
Her daughter was born seven weeks early and weighed only 3 pounds, 8 ounces. She spent the next 13 days in the NICU. Overall, though, she was strong and doing well. Krystina was released after two days. Going home without her baby was one of the hardest things she has ever done.
“My doctors played such a crucial role in making sure my babies were fine. They were fantastic,” she said.
Krystina and her husband are so grateful that their preemies are doing so well. Those babies, and Krystina, are great examples of how premature babies can go on to live happy, healthy lives.
– Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC has seven OB-GYNs and five advanced practice providers, with offices in Canton and Woodstock.