A working group consisting of neonatal specialists, obstectricians, midwives, and patients are considering lowering the age from 24 weeks to 23 weeks (as a consistent rule for all neonatal units).
Daisy Salter’s mum, Katie, was only 23 weeks pregnant when Daisy made her way into the world. When she was born, she couldn’t open her eyes, and she couldn’t breathe. Her parents Neil and Katie had a big decision to make. “We did know that even if she did survive the birth, that she might not survive in those days or weeks afterwards. We made that choice.
“We were terrified of having a baby that one – didn’t live, and two – that was disabled of course, because I mean it’s a scary thing mentally, but … we just felt we have to give it a chance,” they said.
At 22 weeks and five days pregnant, Katie Salter began having contractions, and went straight to Auckland hospital. After two steroid injections over 48 hours to help strengthen Daisy’s lungs, her 545 gram baby was born, and placed in the intensive care unit. She was so small Neil could roll his wedding ring up her arm. When Daisy came home from hospital, she needed a oxygen tank for six months. But now she’s a vibrant, giggling toddler with plenty of air in her lungs.
To read the full story from Radio New Zealand head here.
Note: It is important to note that the discussion in the article on saving 23 week gestation babies relates to a consistent protocol across New Zealand. Babies have been saved below 24 weeks for some time, but a consistent policy is not in place across all NICUs. Through increased clinical knowledge and some great research, more is now known for saving, and the care of, very early babies.
Also, each case is different and the gestation of the baby is only part of the equation – when there is the potential of a very premature baby arriving, the experienced medical professionals will be taking into account the size of the baby, presence of possible issues, etc as to the likely outcome for the baby.
Supporting the care of neonatal families
The Neonatal Trust is proud to work alongside the clinical and research teams who deliver expert support to the 5,000+ babies cared for in neonatal units in New Zealand every year. Working with them, we:
- help to get a ‘patient voice’ and direct feedback from those who have been on a neonatal journey
- assist researchers to get participants for their various studies
The continual focus on enhancing the clinical care and supporting practices for neonatal families is a key reason New Zealand is a leader in this field. Here’s a couple of recent examples of our support for the enhancement of the information parents recieve:
- The POD survey to increase understanding on the information given to parents at this very stressful time
- Supporting the PHD study into neonatal care and experiences
- Providing input, and ensuring parent input, into the working group mentioned in the above article
Supporting neonatal research
One of our core objectives is supporting neonatal research so that the care of babies is enhanced and tne long term outcomes are better understood. To learn more about some of the world leading research occuring in New Zealand, head to www.neonataltrust.org.nz/research
Can you help more of our support happen?
The Neonatal Trust want to do more for those going through the stress and anxiety of a neonatal journey.