What are the chances my premature baby will be disabled?
For any infant, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT AHEAD OF TIME THE LIKELIHOOD OF A SIGNIFICANT HANDICAP (moderate or severe mental retardation, inability to walk without assistance, blindness or deafness). However, some factors increase the RISK of these handicaps: • Extreme prematurity, especially infants of 24 weeks of gestation at birth or less. At these stage of development the risk of disability is about 50%. And a least some impairment is likely, such as learning disabilities, below average performance in school, poor eyesight, etc. As gestational age increases, the chances of being normal or nearly normal increases dramatically and are similar to the chances for survival. This means if survival is 80%, then about 80% of those who survive are free of major disability. Thus, with a 80% survival, 20% will die, about 64% will be healthy and 16% will have major disabilities. • Identifiable brain abnormalities. These may occur before birth or in the nursery. These include large intraventri