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'Early term' babies - did you worry?

(36 Posts)
mummyjah Wed 07-Sep-11 18:54:13

My baby was born at 38+0, possibly due to an infection in pelvis (uti and swab came back negative though). Normal labour. I have since scared myself silly googling the possible developmental/health problems that such early term babies can have (organs. inc. brain still not fully developed, etc., etc.). Has anyone else had similar worries/noticed anything delayed/odd about their early term children or is google doing its usual job of turning up nonsense?Basically, is this a genuine concern?

Yellowballs Wed 07-Sep-11 19:13:15

My ds was born at 37 +4 and I have no worries at all. He's 18 months now and his development is just fine. I don't think you need to worry, ignore google. smile

MultipleSoManyPapercuts Wed 07-Sep-11 19:25:19

DS1 was born at 38 weeks, and he has developed along the usual guidelines, even inthe early weeks there was no difference. He is now 2.3years and your average two year old, actually a little advanced in language development.

Really wouldn't worry about it!

iarebaboon Wed 07-Sep-11 19:29:38

DS was born at 37+2

I just assumed that pregnancy and our cycles etc aren't an exact science and that I wasn't sure when exactly I conceived and as some babies are big and some are small dating scans probably aren't precise to an exact date

Anyhoo he was 8lb 12 and obviously ready to come out

He's a perfect, perfectly normal 3 year old now

sc2987 Wed 07-Sep-11 19:37:42

It's true that some babies born at or after 37 weeks are more likely to develop learning difficulties (can't find the study again now but there was some publicity about it recently). But it is not necessarily causal, i.e. they may have been born early because their development was unusual, rather than they will develop unusually because they were born early. So it doesn't necessarily mean there will be anything to worry about, just that it is an increased risk.

Anecdotal evidence isn't that helpful, but my daughter was born at 37+0 and is fine so far (6 months). If anything she's met developmental milestones early.

ZhenXiang Wed 07-Sep-11 19:40:13

38 weeks is still considered full term. Some people apparently have longer gestations and some shorter. 40 weeks is an average gestation, but like most things to do with human biology there is a range.

My niece was born at 30 weeks and despite having a hole in the heart, which is now fixed (and some full term babies have this), she is doing exactly what she should be doing for her corrected age.

The only thing I have noticed with her is frustration that her body is not able to do all the things that she would like, as mentally she is more advanced than her corrected age, having been alive 10 weeks longer than she should have been if born at full term.

Jules125 Wed 07-Sep-11 20:26:45

Try not to worry. The risks are just very slightly higher at 38 weeks than 40 but really the difference is very very small - most 38 weekers will do perfectly. My DD was 38+2 and is hitting developmental milestones early; I really doubt this will be of any significance in the longer term.

thereinmadnesslies Wed 07-Sep-11 20:30:01

DS2 was born at 37 weeks exactly. He definitely struggled as a baby and reached milestones at the end of the age range. He also had an undescended testicle, allergies which took months to be diagnosed and now needs his tonsils removed. I think it was only when he turned 2 that he caught up with his peers, but now he's bright and chatty and I've got no fears about his future.

MissTinaTeaspoon Wed 07-Sep-11 20:31:13

Well I was born at 36 weeks, and so was my sister and we're fine! We've both got good gcses and a levels, I've got a degree and she's got a masters smile. Dd was 39 weeks and is as bright as a button smile, anything past 37 weeks counts as term smile

ShowOfHands Thu 08-Sep-11 15:50:07

DS was born on Sat at 37+2. He wasn't ready to be born really. My waters broke early due to a positioning problem. He's a wee bit small and spends 99% of his time with his eyes closed, curled up in a ball. I hadn't even considered any long term questions about his development. Eek.

Oh well. I can't put him back.

Bramshott Thu 08-Sep-11 16:14:02

DD2 at 38+2 seemed late to me compared to DD1 at 33+4! It never occurred to me that I should be worried about her, and she's absolutely fine.

More reason to worry about 42-weekers I think - deteriorating placenta etc, although clearly most are absolutely fine.

MissTinaTeaspoon Thu 08-Sep-11 17:29:12

Congratulations showofhands grin

mummyjah Thu 08-Sep-11 19:01:51

Thanks everyone, for your responses. I must say, it did not occur to me either that there might be a problem (and no hcps have batted an eyelid). Spending too much time on Google, reading dodgy and dubious studies while breastfeeding. Given that 50% of the population are born before their due date, I think we'd know about it if there was a developmental problem.

Congratulations ShowofHands!

Breevandercamp1750 Thu 08-Sep-11 19:06:37

DS1 was born at 30 weeks and DS2 was born at 33 weeks. All fine now, ones a healthy happy 4 year old and the other a healthy happy 9 month old grin

motherinferior Thu 08-Sep-11 19:08:31

My sister, my younger daughter and I were all a bit early. Dsis has a first class degree from Edinburgh, I have a couple of degrees including one from Oxford, and DD2 is reading and writing at the level of an 11 year old (she's eight). Anecdotal but reassuring, I think?

NotCallingHimNigel Thu 08-Sep-11 19:55:17

The furthest I've managed is 38+2 with my third and that was because there was no way he was coming out any earlier due to literally being sewn in! We agreed on a slightly earlier than usual ELCS due to my history as I was a long way from the hospital and labouring with the stitch in could be bad news. My first was 36+6 (37+2 by my dates) and came of her own accord naturally and my second was 35+5 - various complications including PTL. None have ever shown any developmental problems - they've either been average or ahead. All had fabulous apgars and came home from the hospital with me.

My consultant would not allow an ELCS before 38 weeks - most consultants will not. After this point they prefer 39 weeks but don't really mind 38-39 weeks if there is a pretty good reason for it. There's a reason 37 weeks is term - 38 weeks is just being on the safe side.

They do tend to be almost constantly asleep (which is funny as they seemed to move more in the womb!) until they hit 40 weeks though!

PS Big congratulations to showofhands grin

ShowOfHands Fri 09-Sep-11 10:29:02

Thanks all smile

It's reassuring that the constant sleeping is normal. DD was born at 38+5 but was always awake and alert. This little boy sleeps and feeds. I'm still amazed if I even see his eyes during the day.

Not a soul has suggested any chance of developmental issues. Indeed, dh was born at 31 weeks nearly 30yrs ago and he's largely a normal, functioning human being. Except today but then the rugby's on.

WinterLover Fri 09-Sep-11 16:28:06

DS was born at 36 weeks and was a tiny 6lb 3oz, he spent a week in NICU due to high jaundice levels but for the first 4 weeks he bascally ate and slept. He was very rarely awake. Once he hit 4 weeks (40weeks) he was more awake and acting like a 'newborn'. He's now 6 weeks and 9lb 5oz and spend most of the morning awake and sleeps pretty much constant from dinner onwards.

hawthers Tue 13-Sep-11 12:48:31

term is considered 37 weeks however i have been told by various consultants that all the essential development is done by 34 weeks and the rest of the time left is spent growing and putting on weight.

as the mother of a 31 weeker who weighed 2lb and spent 16 weeks in the NICU - please could those with term babies leave the worrying about development to those of us who have had premature babies.

i understand that we all worry about our babies but at 38 weeks that really is considered term and there shouldn't be any need to worry.

i'm sorry if that comes across as insensitive and i'll probably have numerous MNers telling me off but there really are so many things to be happy about with a 38 weeker that i really wouldn't worry about those last 2 weeks that have been 'missed'.

(ducks to miss the possibly impending crap coming her way)

hawthers Tue 13-Sep-11 12:54:12

sorry rather emotive issue for me sad

Jules125 Tue 13-Sep-11 15:16:11

totally agree with you hawthers. I had a 26 week daughter 2.5 years ago who did not survive so can empathise to some extent. I was utterly delighted that my next pregnancy went so well I reached 38 weeks! I'm sure no-one meant to upset you, me or others with really early babies though - its easy to worry about the minor things too.

Really hope your 31 weeker is doing well now

hawthers Tue 13-Sep-11 15:29:12

congrats jules125 on successful 2nd pregnancy and so so sorry about your first daughter.

i guess i was trying to reassure that there shouldn't be any developmenal issues at 38 weeks rather than reaching 40 weeks. came out a bit wrong - sorry mummyjah

31 weeker now a shouty adorable 2 year old grin who i'm incredibly proud of and is getting closer to where he needs to be all the time

sprinkles77 Tue 13-Sep-11 15:34:31

Don't worry! Officially any baby born after 37 weeks is full term. My friend had hers a 35 weeks, baby fine, another at 27 weeks, baby OK (bit prone to chest infections but otherwise totally normal), and mine at 38 (small for dates / 2nd percentile but caught up to 50th percentile by 12 weeks)If baby is well, he's well. That does not mean that you should ignore anything you actually see that worries you, just don't sit round looking for problems with him: enjoy!

Things change from day to day for all babies. Stats are just that, they don't apply to all babies.

AmandaB22 Tue 13-Sep-11 23:28:37

"My baby was born at 38+0, possibly due to an infection in pelvis (uti and swab came back negative though). Normal labour. I have since scared myself silly googling the possible developmental/health problems that such early term babies can have (organs. inc. brain still not fully developed, etc., etc.). Has anyone else had similar worries/noticed anything delayed/odd about their early term children or is google doing its usual job of turning up nonsense?Basically, is this a genuine concern?"

Are you really asking if you should be concerned?? Really??? You have nothing to worry about!! your child was term not early! My son was born at 26 weeks so i get a bit arsey.

mummyjah Wed 14-Sep-11 11:28:54

Apologies to anyone who found the question facetious - it was not meant to be (but admittedly, could have been phrased more sensitively). I would not have thought anything of this either but for the many remarks from GPs, midwives, HVs, in the past few weeks since the birth, commenting on the baby's 'early birth', and the attribution of this to current 'problems' such as jaundice and BF. I found this puzzling, ...and then googled (!). Hard to be sensible in the immediate postpartum period.

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