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More premature babies surviving at 23 weeks, new study finds

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Over the past two decades, doctors have made significant progress in saving the earliest premature babies, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Between 1993 and 2012, the study found a “significant increase in survival” of infants born prematurely at 23, 24, 25 and 27 weeks. Rosemary Higgins, program scientist for the neonatal research network at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, explained in an interview: “Extremely pre-term babies born before the 28th week are now surviving in greater numbers.”

Higgins pointed to advances in medical care as a reason for the increased survival rates of premature babies:

Increased use of surfactant has offered better protection for the newborns’ lungs, and steroids given to mothers in the hours or days before a pre-term birth promote development of lungs, which normally don’t mature until 34 to 36 weeks of gestation.

This is not the first study of its kind. A study released earlier this year by the New England Journal of Medicine found that babies born as early as 22 weeks may survive if they are properly treated.

Unfortunately, while science is proving that infants at 23 weeks or even 22 weeks of gestation can survive outside the womb, it is still legal to abort such babies in many states, as a number of states still do not restrict abortion to viability.

While new evidence is showing that babies may be viable earlier than 24 weeks, the abortion industry continues to push aside such science in favor of “abortion rights.” Even so, The New York Times reports that viability is a continuing discussion among medical professionals, with many concluding that the marker for viability should be moved to an earlier age.

 

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