Coming into the world earlier than expected can put infants at risk for a variety of health concerns, too. Some of these health problems are temporary, while others can become lifelong issues. For example, prematurity can make a baby more likely to develop conditions such as:
- Anemia, the inability to produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body
- Jaundice, yellowing of the eyes and skin caused when the liver isn’t functioning optimally
- Retinopathy of prematurity, an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to vision loss
- Patent ductus arteriosus, a problem that occurs when the connection between two main blood vessels near the heart doesn’t close properly, which may ultimately lead to heart failure
- Intraventricular hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain
- Infections, including pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis
Jessica Cerretani is a freelance health writer.