How To Take Care Of A Premature Baby?

Premature birth is one that takes place before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed. Premature babies require specific medical attention. Babies who are premature are kept for a closer watch in the neonatal care unit where they are ready for discharge.

What is Preterm delivery?
The average normal length of a pregnancy is 40 weeks. Preterm delivery is one that takes place about three or more weeks prior to the expected due date.

What are the risk factors that contribute to Preterm delivery?
There is no definitive way of knowing that a certain delivery will be preterm. A few of the contributory factors for preterm delivery include: Previous preterm deliveries, Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc), Structural anomalies with the uterus, cervix, etc, Being underweight or overweight during and before pregnancy, Smoking and use of illicit drugs, Alcohol consumption, Infections, particularly those affecting the reproductive tract, History of chronic conditions like diabetes, History of abortions or miscarriages.
While these are risk factors, it doesn’t indicate a definitive guideline for preterm deliveries.

What are the signs and symptoms a woman experiences while she goes into preterm delivery?
Most preterm deliveries occur spontaneously without a preceding event. Women undergo regular and frequent contractions. This can start out as low back pain, mild cramping with or without vaginal spotting or bleeding. Some cases can progress like normal labour with the “water-breaking” followed by regular contractions.

What are the risks an infant encounters by being born Prematurely?
All babies that are born prematurely have to placed under intensive care and require close monitoring.

Premature babies are underweight and appear small in size. The younger, the infants are, they are less likely to swallow, suck or feed on their own. As they grow older, tube feeding and suckling can be observe They may observed to be sleeping for most of the day.

The main concern for babies that are born prematurely is their capacity to breathe. The complete function of the lungs is attained by 35 weeks of gestation. Babies born before this time will require support to breathe efficiently.

Other complications premature babies might encounter include Inadequate body temperature control, Structural heart defects, Bleeding in the brain, Immature gastrointestinal system, Anaemia, Jaundice, Immature immune system.

All premature babies do not encounter complications. Just the risk of complications increases if a baby is born prematurely.

When can parents take their Premature baby home?
A few parameters are observed before a premature baby can be taken home.Like Moderate their own body temperature, Gain weight steadily, Breastfeed or bottle feed, Independently maintain heart rate and breathing rate, Have most diagnostic tests are within a normal range

How do parents take care of their premature babies at home?
Here are a few tips for taking care of your premature baby:

Since your baby’s immune system is still developing, your child will be indoors most of the time.

Increase skin-to-skin contact. This is when you place your baby, who is only dressed in a nappy, on your bare chest. This technique is referred to as “Kangaroo Mother Care.”

Your baby should sleep on his/her back in a cot that has minimal mattresses, pillows and blankets. This is to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

Due to your baby’s fragile skin, it is best to avoid frequent bathing. Babies can have a bath once or twice a week. Bathing involves light sponging, especially until the umbilical cord falls off.

In the first six months of your babies life, breast milk is the primary source of nutrition. Your baby will wake up several times during the day to feed. Premature babies will feed more often.

It is also essential that parents of newborns work out ways to take care of their own general health and well being. This means washing hands regularly as well as keeping the house clean and dust-free. This can be emotionally taxing for parents.

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