When a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is referred to as premature birth. Each year, one out of every 10 newborns in the United States is born prematurely. As a result, they are more likely to have health problems and require hospitalization than babies born later. However, because of advancements in medical care, even prematurely born babies now have a better chance of survival than in the past.
Medical Terms for Describing Your Baby’s Birth
- Between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is born late preterm.
- Your kid is moderately premature if he or she is born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy.
- Premature delivery occurs when a baby is born prior to the 32nd week of pregnancy.
- When a baby is born before the 25th week of pregnancy, it is called extreme preterm birth.
Some of the health problems that result from premature birth might last a lifetime. As your child gets older and throughout childhood, other challenges, such as intellectual or developmental impairments, may arise.
These are problems in the brain’s functions that can cause problems or delays in a person’s physical development, learning, communication, self-care, or social interactions.
The earlier a child is born during pregnancy, the more probable he is to have health problems later in life. Premature babies, those born before 34 weeks of pregnancy, are at a higher risk of developing health problems. Still, children born between 34 and 37 weeks of pregnancy are at an increased risk of health problems associated with premature birth. Some premature babies will need to spend some time in a top hospital’s neonatal critical care unit. It is a hospital nursery that provides medical care to ill newborns.
Signs of preterm babies:
Premature birth can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from mild signs to more visible consequences.
The following are some indications of immaturity:
- With a disproportionately huge head for his size, comparatively smaller in size.
- Due to a shortage of fat stores, the features of a premature newborn are sharper and less rounded than those of a full-term baby.
- Lanugo, which is fine hair, covers much of the body.
- Low body temperature, especially in the delivery room right after birth, due to a lack of stored body fat
- Respiratory discomfort or troubled breathing
- Feeding difficulties are caused by a lack of sucking and swallowing reflexes.
Treatment options for preterm babies:
There are various preterm birth treatments these options can be helpful in saving preterm babies,
Placing in an incubator:
The baby will most likely be kept heated in an enclosed plastic cot (incubator) to assist him to maintain a normal body temperature. Later on, NICU staff may show you how to hold your baby in a certain style, known as “kangaroo” care, which involves direct skin-to-skin contact.
Monitoring vital signs:
Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature can all be monitored through sensors placed on your baby’s body. To assist your infant in breathing, a ventilator may be utilized.
An intravenous (IV) tube may be used to administer fluids and nutrition to your infant initially. Breast milk can be administered later via a tube that is inserted into your baby’s nose and into his stomach (nasogastric, or NG, tube). Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding is generally possible once your infant is strong enough to suck. Reach out to a neonatal intensive care unit where treatment is provided for preterm babies.
Depending on your baby’s age and medical conditions, he or she requires a particular amount of fluids each day. To ensure that your baby’s fluid levels stay on track, the NICU team will regularly check fluids, sodium, and potassium levels. If fluids are required, they will be administered via an IV line.
Exposure to bilirubin lights:
Your baby may be placed under a set of lights called bilirubin lights for a length of time to treat infant jaundice. The lights assist your baby’s system in breaking down extra bilirubin that accumulates due to the liver’s inability to digest it all. To sleep more peacefully while under the bilirubin lights, your infant will wear a protective eye mask.
Before the neonatologist discharges the child to the home, it is ensured that the child is able to breathe without any support, is effectively gaining weight, and maintains a stable body temperature.