Common brain issues for premature babies

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, shares advice on the most common brain issues and risks that babies born prematurely will face
Common Brain Issues For Premature Babies
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Common brain issues for premature babies

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Premature infants also have vulnerable brains. Your doctor may speak to you about the brain of your baby. Babies that are born below 34 weeks have a maturation of their brain that is still progressing. and there is one part of their brain that is quite sensitive to stress and may sometimes cause hemorrhage in the brain. We call that IVH, or IntraVentrical Hemorrhage. So smaller infants, more premature infants, are at higher risk of brain complications associated with prematurity and must be watched to minimize such problems. Your doctor will often do ultrasounds, very much like the mother had during pregnancy, to watch that part of the brain and to ensure that there has not been a hemorrhage in the brain. More mature infants still have issues that are often detected around 34-35 weeks. Sometimes the respiratory centers in our brain are not fully developed at that age, and sometimes babies just forget to breathe. That's why even larger premature infants are monitored in the intensive care unit to make sure that if they forget to breathe we can provide some help. Sometimes this help is in the form of a little bit of oxygen through their nose. Sometimes it is in the form of a medication that stimulates the brain to remember to breathe. And those are in general the most pertinent brain issues that premature infants can be at risk of.

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, shares advice on the most common brain issues and risks that babies born prematurely will face

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Philippe Friedlich, MD

Neonatologist

Philippe Friedlich, MD, MS Epi, MBA is the Associate Director and Division Chief of the Center for Fetal and Neonatal Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as the Medical Director of the hospital’s Newborn & Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU). Dr. Friedlich is a professor of Pediatrics and Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.   

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