Your BRIDGE back to being active at every age and stage

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Were You Born Preterm? Your Muscles May Still Have More to Learn!

The theme for this week … the implications on adult well-being from being born premature

Being born preterm sounds like a rare occurrence. In reality about 10% of you were born early and research shows that can relate to some long-term health implications. The good news is that being physically active is a great antidote to nearly all of these conditions. Read on …

If you were born preterm …

Since the 1980s more preterm babies survived and are now in their 40s and 50s. If you were one of these babies, there are a number of health impacts to be aware of and to be more proactive about.

What does ‘preterm’ mean?

Any baby born before 37 weeks gestation is considered to be preterm. There are further breakdowns as follows:

  • Late preterm is 34-37 weeks
  • Moderate preterm is 32-34 weeks
  • Very preterm is 28-32 weeks
  • Extremely preterm is under 28 weeks

Statistically about 10% of annual births in the US are preterm. From a numbers standpoint this is huge — about 384,000 in 2021!

What are the health implications?

The paper “An overview of adult health outcomes after preterm birth” published in 2022 discusses groups of preterm babies at varying ages, studied in several countries. Sweden is common for several of the analyses. The most common health issues noted are increased risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory challenges
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lipid level regulation

Coincidentally, these are all conditions where physical activity is consistently shown to have a positive impact. There is hope!

How can Bridging® play a role?

What we’ve seen at the Bridging® Institute is that our clients want to move. They are willing to try a different approach to being active so they can feel better and do more. Even when the cause of the movement challenge stems from early in life, Bridging® can help.

Clients find Bridging’s targeted approach to problem-solving finds issues that matter and that other professionals don’t think to look for. Even better is the gentle, rocking, and stretch-based way muscles are reset during Bridging®, which is often relaxing.

This week’s video session guest was born two months early, a very preterm baby. She has had back pain which is still present despite trying many traditional and alternative approaches to find relief. We used a developmental approach with Bridging and got new results.

With less pain she can be more active!

Insight of the Week from Cara

Years ago we used to have two intake forms:

  • one for children with birth and developmental questions
  • one for adults with injury and medical intervention questions

Over time we found that kids had medical interventions or serious injuries, and adults had developmental or birth issues in their past.

For each group, the missing information was a key factor to helping them move better. (The forms are now combined into one.)

Why does being born premature impact movement as an adult?

The lifetime impact of being born premature has two parts to it relating to your ability to be active:

  1. Immature neuromuscular system from incomplete development. We often find extremely tight muscles, or low muscle tone.
  2. Inhibited muscle relationships due to the medical interventions used to keep you alive (monitoring, nutrition, oxygen.) We often find unexplained pain, repeat injuries or poor coordination related to the early restraints.

We find that the immature and/or impacted muscle relationships do not necessarily develop on their own. Their time window to develop on their own was passed over while in an incubator.

How does Bridging® uniquely help these early muscle relationships?

The Bridging® assessment looks at your foundational movements and transitions, which are initially formed in this early period of life.

We are able to identify tight, loose, or incomplete muscle coordination. We then support the muscles and reset how they work together. It’s like getting your muscles tutoring to play catch-up!

Being active is so vitally important overall to our health, and more so if you were born premature. Bridging helps you feel more able to be active and to strength-train for your overall health benefits!