Preterm Babies, Wheezing, And Sleep Apnea

There’s been a rash of studies on the numerous health consequences of pre-term deliveries. Here’s a study showing that babies born before 37 weeks had significantly higher rates of developing asthma. The more preterm, the higher the risk. Since it was a large-scale epidemiological study combining  42 similar studies, with over 1.5 million total births, it didn’t go too much into possible mechanisms.

Underdevelopment of the lungs is a common potential explanation, but here’s another possible mechanism:  Preterm delivery can raise your risk for obstructive sleep apnea. This study found that very premature delivery and maternal smoking raised the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea by 2.2 time normal. 

We know that obstructive sleep apnea can predispose your stomach juices to come up into the throat, mainly due to vacuum forces in the throat. If you accept the possibility that stomach juices can reach the throat, then it can easily reach the lungs or even the ears. Here’s one study showing that children with chronic lung diseases had much higher rates of pepsin (a stomach enzyme) in lung washings. 

There’s a reason why 40 weeks is needed for full-term delivery. Not having enough time to fully develop the airway and jaw structures can lead to narrowed upper airways which can predispose to obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, reflux, and a variety of  other future health problems.

If your child was delivered pre-term, does he or she have asthma?



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One thought on “Preterm Babies, Wheezing, And Sleep Apnea

  1. Dear Steve,

    The details are important. My understanding is that at birth and for at least several weeks or longer after the oral and nasal areas are separate so there is no potential for gastric juices to get to the lungs. After the throat develops there is. Second. please do not omit all the anatomy associated with the musculature that impacts the tongue. Than means including the hyiod, infrahyoid and suprahyoid and all the muscles of the tongue and their attachments to the mandible and skull, all of which insertions influence the positioning of the tongue via its extrinsic musculature. Then consider reactions of the intrinsic muscles at the same time as the tongue touches the inside of the oral cavity and induce direct pressure responses and reflex responses and likely impacts and is impacted by the meridian system or the ANS.

    Science does not get to skip over this our professions in their trade association roles (their primary roles) routinely do as do publications with agendas other than learning reality and the truth, do.

    To do this we must keep asking why and how!

    Are you willing to do this in your blog beginning with this article?