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Doctor: Sextuplets can end up with complications
Parents Petra Lee Foon and Kieron Cummings will have to ensure that their six babies are continuously monitored by doctors until they reach the age of five. The babies who were born prematurely last week at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital can end up with long term complications.
According to obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr Afraz Ali, who was part of the team that delivered the babies, respiratory problems and developmental difficulties are associated with this type of birth. He was speaking about how clomiphene citrate affects a mother and a baby. He said it was extremely uncommon for spontaneous sextuplets to occur without fertility treatment.
In an interview yesterday, Ali said, “Because of the stresses the babies undergo immediately after delivery in terms of neonatal care...remember a big part of that is respiratory problems and with respiratory problems you have to be concerned about how the brain is affected by it and as a result of that you have to monitor these babies for prolonged periods of time.”
He said that could be up to three to five years to see how the babies develop and how they achieve the milestones that a full-term baby will achieve. Cerebral palsy and blindness were part of the developmental milestones.
Ali said, “This is not something where the babies go home and everything is alright. They would need continuous follow-ups for at least three to five years to ensure that they are meeting the developmental milestones and that is assuming they negotiate this post-delivery successfully.” He said it would be difficult to say how long they would stay at hospital.
It depended on their progress and level of support they required. “Certainly, they would be monitored and would only leave the hospital when stable and putting on weight and the parents could adequately deal with them at home,” he said.
Ali said because of the extreme prematurity the babies would need to have eye exams to ensure the retina is not damaged. He also said the medical complications with a mother were extreme. He said they were extreme primarily because of changes that occur within a mother’s system such as blood volume and stresses on her cardiovascular system which could be grave during the pregnancy.
As for the baby/babies, Ali said, “These babies, because of their pre-term condition suffer not only a prolonged phase in the neonatal unit requiring ventilatory or respiratory support, but they end up with long-term complications.
“They usually have long-term medical problems which have to be monitored carefully.”
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