Octopus Mom

Life as a mom who has her hands full

Premature Babies less likely to marry?

Today I read an article on AOL that premature babies were less likely to marry, more shy, and less likely to leave home according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study of nearly 1 million Norwegians ages 20-36 will upset many parents of premature babies. But as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit RN for over 10 years I have a few words to say on the matter.

wikipedia commons

preterm baby..copyright: wikipedia commons

First of all, please remember that sooo much has changed over the last 30 years in Neonatal Medicine. In fact, since I have been a nurse, babies spend significantly less time on the ventilator and go home much, much sooner and with fewer complications than they did even 10 years ago. The children born 30 years ago probably had more “issues” that their parents had to deal with throughout the years. They were probably over protected due to their conditions and sheltered a bit. It is a natural reaction for parent’s who have come really close to loosing their babies to over protect them and keep them away from the dangers of the world, which may be the reason for their shyness.

Also, since most babies spent considerably more time on the ventilator, many premies had odd shaped heads, and chronic lung conditions which might make it a bit more difficult for them to meet and attract members of the opposite sex.

I know from experience that the vast majority of the premies we send home look no different from their full term peers….. just a little smaller. Many of them are growing with no complications and are extremely intelligent. I believe that this study, while interesting, is already outdated due to the major advances in preterm care.

If you are the parent of a premature baby…comment here..I would love to get your take on the subject.

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9 comments on “Premature Babies less likely to marry?

  1. Susan Wheeler
    July 23, 2008

    I am the mother of a 10 yr. old son, born at 29 weeks, weighing 2.8 lbs. As you said, this article did upset me. My son, Justin, is very attached to me. He wants me to lay with him every night until he goes to sleep, that is if can get him to sleep in his bed, most of the time he sleeps on the couch so he can be closer to me. He has never spent the night at a friends house, he has tried but I end getting a phone call to come get him because he wants to come home. He has trouble socializing which I was hoping enrolling him in boy scouts would help him overcome, but he won’t stay without me there. He struggles in school and they seem to want to push him right through to the next grade. He has always received some type of therapy since he was born and still sees a therapist to help deal with anger issues among other things. He can’t completely dress his-self without asking for help with something, buttons,socks,etc. He takes 5 different meds a day, the least he has ever taken, just to keep himself level throughout the day. He has symptoms of autism, aspergers, bi-polar but because he misses something in each category the only thing he is diagnosed with is ADHD.Looking at him no one would ever guess he was a preemie, which has its pros & cons and because of the meds no one really understands the full scope of his issues, including the school. Sometimes I wonder if he will be able to funtion in a normal society on his own. The findings in the article didn’t surprise me but it is still upsetting because I want to believe he will grow out of this to lead a normal life with independance.
    As to You, I know you have a very hard job as a N.I.C.U. nurse, and I would like to say that it was heartbreaking to leave the hospital without him. Thank God the nurses were always understanding when I would wake in the middle of the night and couldn’t rest until I called to check on him. Their support and understanding got me through that 2 months until he was finally released. I admire anyone who chooses to work in a N.I.C.U. department. Thank You.
    One last note, one thing I did to help me through the time he was in the hospital was to write a letter to him every night, explaining my feelings, how much I missed him and included all his updates, somehow, it made me feel a little bit better.
    Susan Wheeler,
    Houston, TX.

  2. Willy
    July 27, 2008

    The results from the study are not suprising, although I do believe there could be ways around this. The simple fact that parents of premature babies would obviously be overprotective as well as very reluctant to let their little one have freedom. We just had our first son, at 33 weeks gestationally, which he is currently home as of this past Thursday. He spent 5 and a half weeks in the NICU and was diagnosed with NEC, which thank God they caught early enough to handle without surgery. I can already tell that I am being way more protective of him within the first few days of him being home compared to how other friends were with their new infants. Bottom line is that we as parents will have to continuously and consciously re-evaluate our efforts of protection and shadowing so that we do not go overboard and affect our kids in a negative manner. I’m sure it is not easy and I’m sure that’s why the study may currently be correct, but we will only know the truth if we try to push our kids forward. Fight the statistics, make your own numbers, and keep God involved with your childs nurturing.

    Nice blog-site octopusmom, thanks for all that you do….in the NICU

    http://www.willywatkins.org/blog2.php

  3. Sarah
    August 22, 2008

    I’m a 21 yr old born a preemie (14in, 2lb,7oz) and I’m engaged to be married. I am a bit of a homebody, but my mom didn’t know at the time how precarious I was, so I wasn’t overprotected. I am shy, but mostly in social situations. With my family, best friend, and fiance, I am quite energetic. So, I disagree with the article. I am clearly getting married, I have a life outside my house, and I’m active in a lot of clubs. And in case they think we’re stupider, I graduated magna cum laude in three years of college!

  4. Ellie O'Shea
    January 26, 2009

    My son was a preemie born 3 lbs. He is now 17 years old. Yes, he was a shy boy growing up. Yes, he never liked to sleep over others houses. I always had his friends here. So big deal, there’s lots of full term kids who are shy and are homebodies. My son came out of his shell just this year. he has a girlfriend and now loves to go to other peoples house….he’s a social butterfly. He had always been and “A” honor student and is presently taking college courses in his senior year. He was accepted to 6 top notch collges and is looking forward to leaving home to experience college life. AND Yes, he does talk about getting married and having children. So I say, BUNK, to this article!!

  5. Melissa
    March 9, 2011

    My daughter was born at 26 weeks gestation weighing 1pound 11 ounces. She is now 25 years old and beautiful. I was somewhat overprotective and helped her keep up with her school work. She now has a Masters degree in Mental health counseling and is in the process of getting her Phd. She has a slight problem with socializing but her job as a therapist has helped her greatly. She has had lived on her own for 5 years now and has had boyfriends, she is in a relationship now. I just remember always telling her she could do it and that she was a smart girl no matter what others said.

  6. Jesu
    October 12, 2011

    im a 26 years old guy, 28-week premature birth with an IQ of 131, tried entering MENSA and High IQ society in college but no credit card :). Im currently engaged, and i’m living a great life.

  7. ryu
    February 12, 2013

    i am a 22 years old boy myself a premature baby born 7 months…currently focusing on my career and all i have passed out college and working and all and yes i always keep talking to my parents that i want to get married in the near future so i believe that i will get married never dated any girl , never had any girl friend but i have faith in god that i will get a girlfriend in the near future and also someday will get married and have a happy family… all i want to say whether you premature or normal baby everyone has the right to live happy in life and god always takes care of his people makes their life with eternal happiness so i have complete faith in god that every premature baby has the right to live happy including me…so i will prove this article wrong that every premature does deserves love in life to the fullest and that’s the bottom because stone cold said so…:):)

    • ryu
      February 12, 2013

      am a 22 years old boy myself a premature baby born 7 months…currently focusing on my career and all i have passed out college and working and all and yes i always keep talking to my parents that i want to get married in the near future so i believe that i will get married never dated any girl , never had any girl friend but i have faith in god that i will get a girlfriend in the near future and also someday will get married and have a happy family… all i want to say whether you premature or normal baby everyone has the right to live happy in life and god always takes care of his people makes their life with eternal happiness so i have complete faith in god that every premature baby has the right to live happy including me…so i will prove this article wrong that every premature does deserves love in life to the fullest..:):)

  8. ryu
    February 12, 2013

    i am a 22 years old boy myself a premature baby born 7 months…currently focusing on my career and all i have passed out college and working and all and yes i always keep talking to my parents that i want to get married in the near future so i believe that i will get married never dated any girl , never had any girl friend but i have faith in god that i will get a girlfriend in the near future and also someday will get married and have a happy family… all i want to say whether you premature or normal baby everyone has the right to live happy in life and god always takes care of his people makes their life with eternal happiness so i have complete faith in god that every premature baby has the right to live happy including me…so i will prove this article wrong that every premature does deserves love in life to the fullest..:):)

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2008 by in Just for Fun articles and tagged , , , , , , .

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