A baby is considered premature if they’re born 37 weeks before the pregnancy. Learn more about premature babies.
Witnessing a new life come to the world is often a happy moment. But it’s another thing for premature babies – it can be challenging. If you have a premature baby, it’s essential to understand the challenges they might overcome, as well as their needs.
Premature babies don’t have the capacity to deal with this alone. Their bodies are underdeveloped, and their organs haven’t matured enough, yet thanks to medical advancements, premature babies can survive the first days until they’re strong enough on their own.
If you have a premature baby, learn more about premature babies and the type of care they need.
What is a premature baby?
What is considered a premature baby?
Premature babies are babies born before the 37th week of gestation. They are sometimes called “preemies,” coined from the word premature. The earlier premature babies are born, the higher the risk of complications.
A premature baby will need special care for the first few days of its life. In some cases, it might even reach two years. They’re often cared for by neonatal specialists in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which is part of hospitals.
In the United States, one in about ten babies is born prematurely. According to the experts at the University of Utah Health, premature babies born before 24 weeks have less than a 50% of survival. But a 2016 analysis reported that more than 8,300 deliveries in the US had a 68% of survival.
If you need help with neonatal care services, consider Millennium Medical Group.
What does a premature baby look like?
The average weight of a full-term baby is 7 pounds or 3.17 kilograms. Premature babies weigh less than full-term babies, weighing only 5 pounds or 2.26 kilograms. However, this isn’t something parents should worry about. Due to medical advancements, premature babies born after 28 weeks and weighing more than a kilogram have a better survival chance.
The earlier premature babies arrive, the smaller they will be. At first, their head will appear more extensive than most of the other organs. They also have less fat and their skin seems to be thinner and transparent, making the blood veins actually visible to the naked eye. Their hair will also appear to be thin.
In terms of facial appearance, contrary to full-term babies who have chubby cheeks and fat rolls, premature babies have sharper and less rounded facial features. Although once they get stronger, they’ll earn back these features. And because they don’t have much fat, they’ll get cold quickly at average room temperatures. Hence, the need for incubators, a unique heating device to keep them warm.
Understanding your premature babies’ needs
- Understand your preemie’s health condition
Being uncertain can impose fears, especially if the subject is your baby. Learn more about your premature baby’s health condition. Understand its causes, risks, and treatment. If you have questions that can’t be explained by Google, it’s ideal to write down the questions on a notepad or your phone’s note-taking application. Because the more you know, the higher you can handle the situation.
- Share insights with your doctor
If you notice changes, big or small, it’s important to inform your baby’s doctor right away. Regardless of how large or little the improvement is, it’s significant to your baby’s health.
- Ensure milk supply
The doctor will give you a go signal if you can feed your baby. The nurses will inform you on either breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, depending on your baby’s needs. A mother’s milk contains proteins that fight off infections and promote birth growth. It’s vital to begin pumping right after giving birth if possible. Aim to pump at least six to eight times milk per day.
- Spend more time with your preemie
When your baby is under special unit care, you probably can’t hold them. Regardless, it’s essential that you spend time with them and touch them as often as possible. Many NICUs allow parents to do skin-to-skin care for their preemies. When your baby is ready, you can cradle them or hold them.
About Millennium Medical Group
Millennium Medical Group provides top-notch neonatal care for newborn babies and vulnerable mothers. We take pride in delivering consistent, continuous care to achieve the highest quality of service possible.
Want to consult with the best neonatal care in the United States? Visit our website or get in touch with us at 855-222-9637.