Premature babies or Preterm babies are babies who born before the predicted due date. These babies are often not fully prepared to be born. Reports show that every year more than one in 10 births, are born too early. Premature birth occurs in about 11 to 13 percent of pregnancies in the US. They will be at higher risk of diseases, different complications, or even death. However, it doesn’t mean those premature babies are unable to survive. In fact, with proper care and inexpensive treatment, they can grow up healthy. So if you had a preterm birth, here are the things you should know about premature babies
Premature Birth and Premature Babies
Normally, pregnant women are predicted to give birth at their 40th week of pregnancy. However, this prediction is not always true. In some cases, a woman can give birth to her baby earlier or sooner compared to the scheduled time. Premature birth is the case when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Unlike babies who born normally, premature babies are at a higher risk of health problems. They tend to grow slowly, have lower weight, and have a weaker immune system. In addition, premature babies are also at higher risk of birth defects. Therefore, they are more likely to have cognitive problems. Most of the premature babies will need intensive treatment and support in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Physical Condition of Preterm Babies
At birth, the full-term babies have an average weight of 7 pounds ( 3.17kg). Meanwhile, a premature baby can have a weight of 5 pounds (2.26 kg) or even considerably less. The earlier they arrive, the smaller they will be. In addition, you may notice that their head will be larger compare to the rest of their body. Premature babies also have less fat. Therefore, their skin will seem thinner and more transparent. You may even see the blood vessels beneath it.
As they have no protective fat, your premature baby will get cold in normal room temperatures. , So to keep them warm, they will be placed immediately after birth in an incubator (often called an isolette) or under a special heating device called a radiant warmer.
Their features will appear sharper and less rounded than full-term babies. In most cases, premature babies probably won’t have any of the white, cheesy vernix protecting them at birth because it isn’t produced until late in pregnancy. They also may have fine hair, called lanugo, on her back and shoulders. Although there are several differences, with proper treatment, they will look like a typical newborn soon.
Premature Babies Will Need Extra Oxygen
Premature babies often will cry only softly or not cry at all. They also have trouble breathing as their respiratory system is still immature. If they are more than two months early than the due date, breathing difficulties can cause serious health problems. The other immature organs in their body may not get enough oxygen to work properly. Therefore, doctors will keep them under close observation, watching her breathing and heart rate with equipment called a cardio-respiratory monitor. If they need support in breathing, they maybe are given extra oxygen or special equipment such as a ventilator. Another breathing assistance technique called CPAP (continued positive airway pressure) may be used temporarily to support their breathing.
Tips For Preemie Parents
Taking care of newborns is challenging and taking care of premature babies will even require a lot more effort. Your baby will be moved to the special-care nursery for proper treatment, so don’t stress yourself too much. You should spend as much time with your baby in the special-care nursery whenever both of your conditions permit that.
Until they are stable, you won’t be able to hold or touch your baby whenever you want, and you can’t have them with you in your room. Many NICUs allows parents to do skin-to-skin care for their babies once they don’t require major support to their organ systems. As soon as your doctor says it’s OK, gently touch, hold and cradle your baby. You can also feed them now. Your breast milk is the best possible source of nutrients for your baby. It also provides antibodies and other substances which enhance their immune system to resist infection. Th. Some premature babies may initially require fluids given intravenously or through a feeding tube that passes through the mouth or nose into the stomach.
Taking care of your Premature Babies
In some cases, if it’s too difficult for your premature baby to nurse at the breast, you can pump breast milk for feeding through a tube or bottle. The nurses will instruct you on either breast-or bottle-feeding techniques, whichever is appropriate for the baby’s needs and your desires. Once you are able to start breastfeeding directly, you should feed your baby frequently to increase your milk supply.
You may be ready to return home before your newborn. It’s surely hard for you to leave your baby, but remember that your baby is in good care. In fact, you can visit them as often as you’d want. While you are away from the hospital, you can get some needed rest. In addition, you can start preparing your house and family to welcome your baby home. Even after you’ve returned home, if you participate in your infant’s recovery and have plenty of contact with her during this time, the better you’ll feel about the situation and the easier it will be for you to care for your baby when they leave the special care nursery.
Your pediatricians may also be informed about your premature babies. So make sure that you consult them if you have any questions or you need advice.
There you go, now you have our guide about premature babies. We hope that our article can help you to have a better look at preterm birth and premature babies. Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments!