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My DD is 8 y/o. She will be 9 in March. She was born at 32 weeks gestation. We were very fortunate that she did not have a lot of health problems when she was born. I had them all, which led to her premature birth. I had severe pre-e and a total abruption. I had been in the hospital on total bed rest for 4 weeks when Dani arrived. She weighed in at 2lbs 9oz and 14 in long. She stayed in NICU for 30 days and the only complication she had was a small brain bleed which resolved itself.
We are getting her complications now. In pre-k and K she was in speech therapy due to a stutter and some of her words not coming out right. She was discharged in 1st Grade. Now her speech patterns are regressing again and she is stuttering bad. Her doctor has recommended her be referred back to the Speech Language Pathologist at school for follow-up.
Another problem we have with her is her lungs. Every time the weather changes she gets a cough. Bad! I took her to the dr Thursday and he said it is a result of her being preemie. He also said she is beginning to get Asthma from being around smokers and this is what exacerbates her cough due to her extra sensitive lung tissue. Her dad is a heavy smoker (we are divorced) and has three people that live in his house that smoke. He has been told that per the doctor no one can smoke around her.
How long do the side effects from being a preemie last? Do they ever out grow them. She is still really small for her age. She is almost 9 and doesn't weigh 60 lbs yet, but her doctor said that is ok, because for the most part she is healthy other that this nasty cough. She is really susceptible to Respiratory Infections. She missed a lot of school last year because of them and we are going down the same road this year.
Hugs! My 4-year-old was a 27 weeker and so far he doesn't show signs of lung issues or speech problems, but he hasn't started kindergarten yet and I wouldn't be surprised if we find him having issues then. I think some kids outgrow everything, and orders don't. Asthma is pretty common among former preemies, as is ADHD, but certainly not all preemies have those.
Robbie is 8. He was born at 26 weeks. We've had issues with him having ADHD but that's under control with medication. He also did suffer from 2 brain bleeds (causing semi-spastic cerebral palsy on the right side) when he was born though. We've had no lasting effects from him having had premature lungs. The doc still considers him under the "chronic lung disease" title but he's never had a problem since he was released from the hospital.
At 8, Robbie weighs 45 lbs but is normal and healthy. As Beth said, ADHD and asthma are pretty common for preemies as are lung infections due to the prematurity of their lungs. Not all kids have it but not all full termers are exempt either.