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Premature Baby Food Cases grow in country ranked 33rd in Infant Mortality

Lawsuits for premature babies injured by bovine-based infant formula have brought public attention to serious problems faced by premie babies. Some half a million are born prematurely each year in the United States.

About two-thirds of babies admitted for NICU care are born prematurely, which means prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. About a third of the babies are born close to their due dates. They are admitted for a variety of problems such as birth defects, infections, poor growth, or problems related to difficult labor and/or delivery.

One in eight pregnancies (about 12.5%) results in a premature birth. After the rate of prematurity increased by more than a third since the early 1980’s, it fell slightly for the first time in 2007, from a peak of 12.6% in 2006, to 12.7% in 2007 and then to 12.3% in 2008. These small declines mean that 20,000 fewer babies were born prematurely in 2008 compared with 2006.

Premature in US vs. Other Countries

Premature birth rates in other countries are far lower than they are in the US.  In Ireland and Finland, for example, the premature birth rate is just one in eighteen.

U.S. Ranks 33 or Worse in Infant Mortality

The U.S. ranks anywhere from 33rd to 45th in infant mortality in the world, depending on the ranking system.   Japan has the world’s best (lowest) infant death rate at 1.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.  The U.S. rate is at 5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Premature birth is the largest single cause of death in the newborn period and in infancy.  Many survivors of prematurity face long-term developmental disabilities.

The Institute of Medicine reported that the cost of premature birth in the U.S. adds up to $26 billion yearly, which amounts to $51,600 for every infant born early.

What causes premature Birth?

Experts don’t know all the reasons why some babies are born too early. The CDC says certain risk factors can increase the chances of a preterm birth. However, premature birth can occur even if the mother has no known risk factors.

Risk Factors can include:

  • delivering a premature baby in the past
  • being pregnant with multiples
  • tobacco use
  • substance abuse
  • short time (less than 18 months) between pregnancies
  • pregnancy complications (can lead to early delivery)

Natural Mother’s Milk vs. Milk Formulas

There is no doubt among still-sane doctors that natural mother’s milk is far superior (as natural immunity is superior to artificial, vaxx-based immunity) to cow’s milk or any other mother’s milk substitute. However, premie babies are often unable to breastfeed because they don’t have the energy or coordination to use the “suck-swallow-breathe” rhythm needed.

As a result, preterm infants often begin feedings via intravenous delivery or enteral feeds of either the mother’s own human milk, human donor milk, or, most troublesomely, preterm infant formula.

In addition, premature babies sometimes require supplementation which human milk or standard formula cannot give them. Sometimes, doctors recommend adding supplementation with “fortifiers.”  Though human milk fortifiers exist, some doctors use fortifiers made from cow-based (bovine) milk.

Cow’s Milk Problematic for Pre-term Babies

Researchers have found that preterm babies fed bovine-based infant formula are significantly more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) than those fed human milk-based products.

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition in which the intestines become highly inflamed, severely injuring the gut wall barrier. Necrosis (tissue death) results, causing holes in the gut wall barrier, which can cause dangerous bacteria to “leak” out of the intestines. Emergency surgery may be needed to save the infant.

While necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) can occur in full-term infants, preterm infants can be five-times more likely to develop NEC. As a result, plaintiffs’ lawyers around the country are considering civil lawsuits in cases where preterm infants were injured by bovine- or cow-based milk products.

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