It has been found that babies born extremely premature can survive. It was previously recommended that only those babies who were born 23 weeks or later could be saved through treatments. But the British Association of Perinatal Medicine has given evidence of survival of babies born earlier although the survival rate is low.
It has been seen that one-third of the babies survive given proper treatments. Prof Dominic Wilkinson, who drew up this guidance is a consultant neonatologist and said that there was advances in treatments since the publishing of the previous guidance. He said that it was difficult for babies born before 22 weeks to survive because their lungs might not have reached the required development. Though much progress has been made, the survival success is still not high.
Data from the year 2016 has shown that there have been 486 such births and the babies could not survive in nearly 300 cases. Of those who survived, 140 of them were not in a condition where saving them was possible and could be provided palliative care for easing their suffering. The guidance has said that the decision of giving a lifesaving treatment was dependent on the circumstance of each individual baby. Once a baby gets over the 22 weeks, the chance of survival increases each week. In about 50% of the cases where the baby is delivered at 23 weeks, lifesaving treatment is given.
If a baby can reach through 26 weeks, then there is a chance of survival of 82%. However it is possible that most of the babies have some severe disabilities. There are various reasons for the increasing survival rate. The doctors and the health teams have become better in providing proper treatment to the mothers and the babies. Steroids are being given before delivery for boosting the functioning of lungs. There have been great improvements in ventilating techniques as well as for preventing any infections among babies who are born extremely premature.