New resources will help guide parents through difficult decisions if their baby is born extremely premature at 22 to 24 weeks.
When babies are born this early, their heart, lungs, brain and other organs are very immature (not fully developed) and not ready to support life outside the uterus.
Sadly, some babies born at 22 to 24 weeks do not survive labour and birth, and families and their clinicians will need to make difficult decisions about how babies managed, before and after the birth.
Safer Care Victoria has worked with clinical experts and consumers to develop parental information sheets to accompany:
- evidence-based clinical guidance for managing extremely preterm births
- management pathways for threatened extremely preterm labour and active management of the extremely preterm newborn.
Guidance on managing at-risk women and extremely premature babies varies across the state, country and the world.
To help clinicians caring for high-risk pregnant women and newborn babies, the guidance aims to:
- reduce variations in care, and outcomes for extremely premature babies
- develop clear pathways for timely referral and transfer to tertiary perinatal care, where a decision for active care has been made
- provide parents with information and resources regarding treatment options (active versus palliative care). and infant outcomes (survival and long-term outcomes).
- develop a consensus statement defining the zone of parental discretion.
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