Using Caffeine to Help Premature Babies Survive - NBC 7 San Diego

Using Caffeine to Help Premature Babies Survive

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    Doctors at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital are using caffeine to help premature babies survive. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala reports. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015)

    It may sound contrary to popular belief, especially among pregnant women told to reduce or eliminate their coffee intake, but new research reveals caffeine may actually help premature babies survive.

    Doctors at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego say giving caffeine to premature babies within hours of their birth has been shown to help them breathe better, improve their heart rates and make them healthier in the long run.

    One of those babies given caffeine early in the study was Abigail Garcia, who was born four months premature.

    “She didn’t come out of the hospital needing any breathing apparatuses, any help with feeding and what not,” said mom Alicia Garcia. “She was able to do everything on her own.”

    Dr. Anup Katheria at Sharp said a vile of caffeine is administered to a premature baby through an IV. Five grams of caffeine, the equivalent of six cups of coffee, was shown to be the sweet spot for premature babies, Katheria said.

    Katheria also said the caffeine also prevented babies from having other problems with blood pressure or heart function.

    Doctors are now researching whether caffeine given to mothers during labor may also help premature babies survive.