Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Newsweek Article

US Navy/Flickr available through CC-by-2.0My sister just gave me her copy of Newsweek, the November 1, 2010 edition, because it had an article about prematurity inside.  The Prematurity Puzzle by Jeneen Interlandi on page 42, professes the new discovery that the placenta is an actual organ.  The idea presented is that the placenta may play a vital role in fetal brain development.  The conclusion is that if this is the case then separation from the placenta too early, as in the case of premature delivery, could be the reason for neurological impairment in many preemies.

Studies are currently in progress that compare oxytocin levels of 2-year old preemies with and without autism to see if they can link differences back to the placenta.  Oxytocin is a hormone involved in emotional attachment.

Another interesting fact stated in the article is that preemies born prior to 27 weeks gestation are “twice as likely to develop autism.”

I’m finding myself nodding at the idea that the loss of communication from mother to baby via the placenta could have a huge impact on fetal brain development.  It just makes sense.

What do you think?

Read “The Prematurity Puzzle” at newsweek.com.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. A very interesting article….
    Thank you for your very important blog. We appreciate your support of the March of Dimes. We hope you remind bloggers to unite this week as we fight for Preemes. Here is the info gain: Bloggers Unite Fight for Preemies event on November 17th, Prematurity Awareness Day. http://bit.ly/a6y8hj. Thanks for spreadng the word.
    Nov. 17th is the day we all fight – because babies shouldn’t have to.

  2. It does make good sense. There is so much we need to know about the long-term effects of prematurity. This is really interesting.

  3. I have never thought about the placenta being part of the problem before, mine quit working properly when I was 32 weeks along but the doctor did not find out till I delivered at 35 weeks she was the size of a 32 week baby, and that has lead to some delays in her developmental stages, I am going to go off on my own and try to find out more and can’t wait to see what they find at a later date.

Speak Your Mind