Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fascinating Statistics

I'm kind of a statistics freak. Not that ANY kid comes with a guarantee around his or her neck, and there is no such thing as a "crystal ball" (as our NICU Neonatologists would often tell us), but it's still interesting just to see what the odds are. Although I already knew most of these general statistics, I thought my readers might find them interesting. I found the following info on

Survival Rates for Preemies:
23 weeks: 17%
24 weeks: 39%
25 weeks: 50%
26 weeks: 80%
27 weeks: 90%
28-31 weeks: 90-95%
32-33 weeks: 95%
34+ weeks: Almost as likely as a full-term baby

The website also stated:
"In [surviving] babies born before 26 weeks, only 20% will have no long-term problems [in Brynn's case, that's 10% of the total when you consider that 50% of 25-weekers die]. About 34% will have a mild disability, such as cognitive impairment or near-sightedness. Another 24% will have a moderate disability, such as visual/hearing impairment or cerebral palsy with the ability to walk. Finally, 22% [in Brynn's case, 11% of the total] will have a severe disability, such as cerebral palsy and no ability to walk, blindness or profound deafness.

"Babies born after 26 weeks also face an increased risk of learning disabilities and other problems, but the specific odds of these problems vary heavily on factors, such as birth weight and whether or not there was oxygen deprivation before birth."

First, I think it's almost funny that profound deafness is considered on-par with severe Cerebral Palsy. I mean, I understand very well that she is missing one of her 5 senses; but in my experience, deafness has to be the most adaptable of all those things listed (including many of the mild to moderate disabilities). And I firmly believe that Brynn will be able to do whatever she wants in life, deaf or not. Because she never had brain bleeds (very remarkable for a 25-weeker, especially given the added factor that we didn't have time for a C-section), we have reason to believe she won't have major--and likely not even minor--learning disabilities. So, all things considered, we are VERY blessed with her outcome.

Anyway, now you can plainly see why we get so excited with each passing week Heidi stays in the womb. Just look at the difference between 25 and 26 weeks! 28 weeks is a huge statistical milestone, as is 32 weeks. 34-week babies are pretty much statistically indistinguishable from full-term infants--other than some difficulty in the beginning as they learn to eat, keep their body temperature, and breathe completely on their own.

So bake, Heidi, bake . . .

Lastly, as an emphatic plug for OP Regional Medical Center NICU, their statistics are 20% HIGHER than the national averages. Thanks OP! We owe you SO much! Anyone living anywhere in KS Metro . . . take your high risk pregnancy and/or preemie there!

Still here,


Mommy P said...

Yay OPR! They are amazing.

I am so trilled you and Heidi have made it to 26 weeks. Seeing the statistics is such a great reminder to be thankful for every day. And to marvel at how far Brynn has come.

Many blessings!

Brady and Rachel said...

Sorry, I also just wanted to share Kira's blog is you were interested She has been praying for you too!

Brady and Rachel said...

Nat! I love statistics too, thanks for sharing. I have wondered about a lot of these, because I've had dear friends have such young babies. It just amazes me to see such young babies survive and live such great lives. I do find it interesting as well how severe cerebral palsy and profound deafness are on the same level. I have a dear friend her had her little boy at 26 weeks and he has severe cerebral palsy. He is such an Amazing little boy, and has such an awesome personality. She did just have a beautiful healthy baby girl last week thanks to some AMAZING doctors. Hoping and praying for the same for you!. On another note do you know if there are statistics as to preemie boys vs preemie girls? Kira (the mother mentioned above) mentioned something back shortly after she had her sweet baby boy a couple years ago that she had heard that preemie girls fair much better than preemie boys. I don't know if there are statistics for that, but for some reason that always stuck with me after hearing that. When she found out she was having a girl this go around, she felt a little better about the possibility of having another baby very early. I know its no guarantee, but it still gave her some peace of mind I remember. Hoping and praying for Heidi to keep on baking!!! :) Wishing you guys the very best.

Pieces of me... said...

Wow... what a difference in just a few weeks! Just keep yourself comfortable Heidi, no rush. ;)

Natalie said...

Rachel--Yes, preemie girls do better than preemie boys, but usually only by a couple of percentage points. I've heard NICU staff guess that this is because girls typically develop faster than boys (they grow taller first, they hit puberty first, etc). So every little factor contributing to growing lungs or brain first would contribute to a better outcome. As a side note, black babies do better than white babies, too. No surprise there with their athletic reputation!

Brady and Rachel said...

Very interesting, but makes sense. Thanks.