Health and technology have come a long way and there is a new development that may help premature babies survive when delivered far earlier than expected.
A plastic bag-like womb has been created to help keep premature lambs alive for about four weeks out of the womb and the hopes are it can be turned around for human premature babies at some point.
CNN reported this was developed from polythene, the sealed bag has amniotic fluid to offer all the protection and nutrients required for a preemie to grow, with a function that has been created to work like an umbilical cord to deliver oxygen to the baby. It works and has the environment much like that of a mother’s womb.
As per the research team who has developed this artificial womb, about one in ten births across the United States is premature, which is defined as delivery before the 37-week gestational period. Additionally, approximately 30,000 preemies are critically preterm yearly, which means they are delivered at under 26 weeks. The average gestation is 40 weeks.
According to the team, this extreme prematurity is the top cause of infant mortality across America, resulting in one third of deaths for infants, where 50 percent of cerebral palsy cases point at prematurity as well.
As per Tommy’s, a maternal and fetal research charity in the UK, worldwide over one in ten women who are pregnant will go into preterm labour. When it comes to preemies, their chances of survival before the 23-week period is close to zero, where the 23rd week has a 15 percent chance of survival, 24 weeks is at 55 percent, and 25 weeks is at 80 percent.
The hopes of the team who have developed this new plastic bag womb is that it can help increase survival rates for future preemies, however the researchers have also stated that it might take about ten years for the innovation to be used on humans.