• Kristina Mulligan

A Brain Q&A

Question: Can being born prematurely affect a baby’s brain? Answer: Preterm delivery is much more than being born early and simply having to gain weight. Due to the fragility and underdevelopment of a premature baby’s brain, they are more at risk for certain neurological conditions.

Studies show that intraventricular hemorrhages (IVH) most often occur in premature babies that weigh less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces. This condition occurs when the veins rupture in the brain, causing blood to pool, and damages nerve cells. Flynn actually suffered an IVH due to his early birth.

There have also been several studies that have shown the connection between premature birth and possible long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities, which result from issues with the way someone’s brain functions. This can cause a person to have trouble or delays in: physical development, learning, communicating with others, getting along with others, and taking care of oneself.

Some long-term disabilities linked to premature birth include behavior problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety, and neurological conditions, like cerebral palsy, that affect the brain, spinal cord and nerves throughout the body.

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