There are calls for the government to pump more funding and resources into helping doctors keep alive the youngest and most vulnerable of premature babies.

It comes as a working group looks at a potential national standard for resuscitating babies born as young as 23 weeks.

One mother who knows about the trials of premature births is Emma Hodephol. “If it wasn’t for this hospital and what they’ve done, Jaxon (born at 27 weeks) might not be with us today and it’s incredible the time you see the doctors putting in to study and doing as much as they can for all these babies,” Ms Hodephol says.

“For me, certainly in our Wellington unit we’ve looked after 23 weekers for a number of years, and we know that we can and we do have good quality survival at those gestational ages,” Dr Max Berry says, who is one of the members of the government working group.

“We’ve got children who have come through this whole process who are going to school who are doing normal every day things.”

Read details and check out the footage from One News here

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Please note:

It’s important to note that there are no hard and fast rules. The gestation at which babies can be saved, and the incidence of health issues is not a binary, black and white/Yes and no, discussion.

We can provide evidence of children born at 23 weeks with no known issues / limited issues and living great lives. Their parents advocate for saving babies below 24 weeks gestation. What is very important is:

  1. Parents are given information that gives them the ability to make an informed decision at that time, re survival rates, chances of issues, etc.
    On this, it is great to see working groups and stakeholders working together to review details given to parents – with a view to ensuring consistent information and doing so in a way that is best understood)
  2. The tools, resources and equipment available now enable clinicians to understand more information on the baby coming and the key details for their particular case (so, as much as possible, it is an informed decision). NZ is blessed to have world leading practitioners in the neonatal care and research space. New Zealand has been saving babies born below 24 weeks for over a decade ago – a feat not possible in many countries even now.
    NB All cases are different and the circumstance of each case need to taken into account. The comments are provided at a high level and we strongly advocate for more research so, as a whole, better outcomes are achieved.

To learn more about some of the world leading neonatal research taking place in New Zealand, head to www.neonataltrust.org.nz/research