The exact cause of NEC is unknown, NEC It is more common in premature infants and particularly those who have combined medical problems. Babies born prematurely often have underdeveloped body systems. This may cause them to have difficulty with digestion, fighting infection, blood and oxygen circulation and are at a higher risk of developing NEC. It’s believed that a lack of oxygen during a difficult delivery may be a contributing factor. When there’s reduced oxygen or blood flow to the intestine, it can become weak. A weakened state makes it easier for bacteria from the food entering the intestine to cause damage to the intestinal tissues. This can lead to the development of an infection or NEC.
Occasionally term babies may develop NEC, this is usually within the first two-five weeks, this may be as a result of problems within the womb or during birth, as do some other problems like congenital heart conditions or having a gastrointestinal condition.