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Research into Premature Births Ongoing

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Aired 7/20/09

The UCSD Medical Center’s Infant Special Care Unit hosted a picnic over the weekend to reunite nurses and doctors with the small patients they’ve helped save. The hospital handles a high proportion of premature births. KPBS Reporter Katie Orr says research about why some babies are born early is on going.

— The UCSD Medical Center’s Infant Special Care Unit hosted a picnic over the weekend to reunite nurses and doctors with the small patients they’ve helped save. The hospital handles a high proportion of premature births. KPBS reporter Katie Orr says research about why some babies are born early is on going.

The Centers for Disease Control reports nearly 12 percent of babies in the United States are born before 37 weeks which makes them premature. Jan Hebert is the Nurse Manager of UCSD’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She says infection, the age of the mother and the number of babies in the womb can contribute to premature births. But she says more knowledge about how to treat preemies has lead to high success rates.

“Well I’ve been doing this since 1977 and half of the 3 pound babies died then. And now I would say that we’ve got about 85 percent of the 1 pound babies are living,” she says.

But Hebert says it’s still best for a baby to stay inside the mother as long as possible. She says every week gives the baby a better chance of success.

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