This plastic bag, an artificial womb, could some day save extreme preemies

Apr 28, 2017

By Travis M. Andrews

Each year in the United States, about 30,000 babies are born before gestating for 26 weeks, which is considered “critically preterm.” The resulting health problems are vast. Half don’t survive, and those who do face a 90 percent risk of lasting health problems.

Such premature births are responsible one-third of infant deaths and half of the cerebral palsy cases in the country.

“The first health challenges the very preterm babies face is actually surviving,” said Kevin Dysart, a neonatologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Among those that survive, the challenges are things we all take for granted, like walking, talking, seeing, hearing.”

Emily Partridge, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a video: “Just looking at them, it is immediately clear that they shouldn’t be here yet. They’re not ready.”

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