While my children were not preemies, I have cousins who were preemies and I have friends who have preemies, so Preemie Awareness is something I am familiar with and RSV season is something I am far too familiar with.
Since I only have experience with cousins being born premature, I have learned a lot from the RSV Fact Sheet.
Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? And the leading cause of neonatal death is premature birth.
A recent survey on prematurity awareness found that 3 in 10 mothers of preemies weren’t aware of the possibility of prematurity until they had their first child. And 75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity– being born at or before 37 weeks gestation age.
Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs. These babies are at an increased risk of serious medical complications and regularly face weeks or even months in the NICU.
Because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed, preemies are more likely to develop infections and are more susceptible to respiratory problems. In fact, 79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection. One virus in particular that parents of preemies should know about is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.
While I may not be knowledgeable about preemies, I am all too familiar with RSV. In the United States, RSV season is typically defined as beginning of November through the end of March. The reason I know this because my daughter was born end of December and we were told no young children (children under the age of 12) were allowed into the hospital during RSV Season. Fortunately, Buddy was born in April, but #3 will be born at the end of February meaning her siblings will not be allowed to come to the hospital to see her because of RSV season and the risk the older two have on premature babies.
While a part of me is saddened that I will be away from my older two children, I also understand the risk they have on other babies and would not want to put another baby at risk; especially a premature baby who is already at risk as is.
You can learn more about RSV at RSVProtection.
Are you the parent of a preemie? Please feel free to share your story with us either in the comments, on our Facebook page or by emailing us so we can share your story too!
Disclosure: The author of this post wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotion item for their participation. All opinions are 100% the author’s own.