Risky Baby Business: 5 Facts About Premature Birth


Welcome to Risky Baby Business here at More Cowbell! We talk about moms and babies every Saturday over here, particularly those of the high-risk variety. If you want to catch up on the previous posts in this series, click here.

Today we’re talking about “preemies.” As rocky as my journey was, my gal stayed in for 42 weeks. So I asked Kasey Mathews, author of Preemie, to share some information about premature birth with me.

preemie, baby, premature birth

Photo from EmpowerMoments.org

Holy Cowbell, what an eye-opener! The more I’ve learned about premature birth, the more my heart has gone out to the parents of these tiny bundles. They’re rockstars!

I’m excited to announce that I’m interviewing Kasey here at More Cowbell next Saturday (Squeeeeee!). PREEMIE just had a big book launch party at the end of May so you’re getting the scoop early.

Note: We’ll be giving away a copy of PREEMIE to one lucky commenter. I’m reading it now and loving it!!

5 Facts About Premature Birth:

1. A baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature. A micro-preemie, like Kasey’s daughter Andie, is born before 26 weeks or weighs less than 1 lb 12 ounces.

2. Over 1/2 million preemies are born in U.S. every year. Globally the number of premature births is 15 million!! These numbers are on the rise.

3. 40% of parents will never know why baby came early.

4. Post-traumatic stress disorder is very prevalent in preemie parents. (Facts on PTSD here.) The emotional trauma of having a preemie is long lasting, often affecting parents years later.

Note: Here’s a link to a Stanford doctor’s study on PTSD in preemie parents.

5. Preemies are incredibly vulnerable to illness. Cold & flu/RSV season is particularly worrisome for preemies and they must be protected and isolated during that time. (Here’s some tips on how.)

If you are a preemie parent, here are some articles that may be helpful to you:

Thanks to Kasey for sharing these facts and giving me a place to start my research for this post. I hope you all join me next Saturday for her interview and more details about her extraordinary journey with her daughter Andie. Remember, we’ll be giving away a copy of her book, PREEMIE!

Do you have any experience with premature birth? Are there any questions you’d like me to ask Kasey? Please let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered here at Risky Baby Business!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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28 Responses to Risky Baby Business: 5 Facts About Premature Birth

  1. emaginette says:

    Thanks for the info. Scary, huh?


  2. Good stuff, Jenny! Thanks for sharing such invaluable information and articles! Wow, you did your homework!! XO


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  4. Great information Jenny and a definite must for this series.

    Thankfully, I don’t have any personal experience with having a preemie. However, my BFF was a preemie (born at 30 weeks I think) and she’s had long lasting health issues. My cousin had a micro-preemie…love that little girl to pieces but every time I see her I can’t help but wonder about her quality of life. The medical interventions she’s had to undergo is staggering. Unlike my BFF who is independent with some assistance, my cousin’s daughter is, and always will be, completely dependent and locked in her own world. I’d never thought about PTSD in the parents but that might explain the breakup of my cousin’s marriage.

    All the best to Kasey on her release.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Raelyn. Yep, there are so many risky scenarios. It really reinforces what miracles these babies are. Thanks for the comment!


    • Sounds like you might not have a personal preemie experience, Raelyn, but close enough in those you know and love. Like Jenny said, it is risky, and terrifying and the outcomes can’t be predicted with certainty (in both babies and parents) but everyday when I look at my thriving miracle-girl, I’m filled with gratitude and awe. Significant progress is being made in improving medical support for these babies, and as awareness of the growing trend of PTSD in preemie parents increases, healing is happening on that front as well. Maybe worth a mention to your cousin!


  5. Julie Glover says:

    How wonderful to have a whole book about preemies! My second son was born 6 1/2 weeks early (I know why–placenta previa), and much of the usual newborn advice was useless. My sister sent me a book on caring for premature babies, and it was a godsend. In our case, there were no long-term effects of his premature birth, but my son was on a heart monitor until 6 months. It was a difficult time, but we all made it through, thanks to amazing support from family and friends and good information we received at the time.


  6. Hey Jenny! I hope you don’t mind my barging in here. I interviewed Kase at my place on the day her books were put on the shelves! (I’ve known her since middle school, so if people would like to read that interview, they can click here: http://rasjacobson.com/2012/05/29/interview-with-author-kaseymathews-giveaway-of-preemie/.) I’m so proud of Kasey! Her book is fabulous, and Andie is a testament to all the things Kasey did right.


  7. Hi Jenny,

    I don’t have kids, but I was a preemie. 30-something years ago I was born three months early and weighed less than 2 pounds. A few years ago, my mom let me read the diary she kept from the moment she found out she was pregnant through my first two years. I can’t begin to tell you how gut-wrenching it was to read her first-hand account. The thought of my parents “knowing” every time the phone rang they were going to hear I had died still tears me up. Even her fears for me as after I came home from the hospital are haunting. It gave me a whole new respect for my parents and for the parents of preemies everywhere. She’s told me many times all the things that could have been wrong with me mentally and physically, but thankfully none of them happened. I’ve had lots of surgeries (none extremely serious), have asthma and I’m really not fit for anything that requires coordination or flexibiity, but that could have been the case even if I was full-term. I’ve excelled in school and in life, despite the possibility of learning problems. So I just wanted to say that we “miracle babies” know just how lucky we are to be alive. And I, for one, hope to accomplish whatever God gave me a second lease on life to do.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nicole, this comment touches so close to home for me. I hope that my own daughter understands what a miracle she is as she gets older. It’s still unbelievable to us that we got her and that she came out so free of problems. If she managed to avoid my clotting disorder, every single one of my prayers for her (so far 🙂 ) will have been answered.


  8. Donna Martin says:


    I’m trying to visit all the participants of the 2012 A to Z Challenge and I have arrived at your lovely blog. Good luck with the rest of the year!

    Donna L Martin


  9. Karen McFarland says:

    So glad Jenny that you posted this on Facebook. It was such a beautiful day today that I took my DH out for a drive along the coast and fish tacos at “Bear Flag Fish Co.” in Newport. Yummy!

    Okay, preemies. When my husband and I were dating, his sister had a preemie baby. My sweet niece Rachel was born at just barely six months a Hoag Hospital. This was in the mid-seventies. So at the time she was one of the earliest preemies on record to survive. In fact she’s mentioned in past medical books. My sister-in-law had toxemia. They waited as long as they could before taking Rachel. I remember the nurses making her cry on purpose to develop her lungs. To this day she has a raspy voice. It was very tramatic.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, you had a GREAT DAY! And I’ve never been to Bear Flag Fish Company…do they have gluten free stuff?? Yummy.

      How interesting that she kept a raspy voice, and that she was able to survive. Medical science is amazing.


      • Karen McFarland says:

        Okay, you, hubby and baby girl have got to go to Bear Flag. They are a fish store on steroids! All the fish they serve is fresh caught. They are the best and their prices are easy on the budget. Don’t worry about the gluten, you can order any fish grilled with no tortilla. You can eat it there inside or out on the patio, or order for take-out. Enjoy! 🙂


  10. Reetta Raitanen says:

    What a heartbreaking photo, and the amount of preemies is staggering. I didn’t know about the PTSD likeliness for the parents but it makes sense. They fear for the lives of their tiny ones every day. I’m glad that there are books and groups to support the parents.

    My twins were born a month early but thankfully they were perfectly healthy and have stayed so. Our only problem was that they were weak eaters and stopped nursing really early.


  11. Samantha says:

    Thank you for your informative post! As a Mommy to a 1 pound preemie, I would love to read Preemie. Blessings! : )


  12. Elizabeth says:

    Hi there!

    I’m a former VLBW preemie born over 30 years ago, who was recently diagnosed with PTSD. Since then, I’ve been literally scouring the web trying to find anything about whether or not this could be caused by months in the NICU at birth, or whether my mother may have had PTSD after my birth that ultimately had effects on me.

    After reading a ton of blogs on preemies, I know a few things about writing this: it’s the elephant in the room that adult preemies and preemie parents want to know; it’s also the last thing anyone wants! However, if there is a correlation somewhere, it could help former preemies finally understand what could be wrong (if anything!!) and preemie parents to realize NOTHING in this is their fault.



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