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    Premature Babies

    How to take care of your little one when he/she is arriving early? Here are some causes of preterm birth? 

    Written on 14 August 2018

    Expert Verified

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO

    Generally, a healthy baby is born after the full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks however if a baby is born at the 37-38th week of pregnancy or even earlier then the baby is known as a preemie. The chances of survival of the baby are too less if h/she is born before the 23rd week of pregnancy. The complications of the preterm birth of the child may vary however the earlier the baby is born, the higher is the risk of complicated medical problems. According to the experts, the preemies are broadly classified into 4 categories and they are as follows:

    • Late Preterm- If the baby is born between the 34-36th week of pregnancy

    • Moderately Preterm- If the baby is born between 32-34th week of pregnancy

    • Very Preterm- If the baby is born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy

    • Extremely Preterm- Born at or before 25th week of pregnancy

    Various factors cause premature childbirth and are mentioned below:

    • Congenital abnormalities

    • Having Twin/ multiple pregnancies

    • A weak cervix

    • Presence of bacterial infection inside the pregnant woman’s vagina

    • If the pregnant woman bleeds heavily during pregnancy

    • Certain abnormalities of the uterus

    • A history of previous abortions

    • If the mother has experienced any miscarriage previously

    • Early breaking of the water

    • History of alcoholism, smoking, or any other drug abuse

    • If the woman has ever faced domestic violence or grown up in such environments

    • If the mother’s job involves strenuous physical work

    • If the expecting mother is either underweight or overweight

    • Age factor (if older than 35)

    • Infections like UTI, vaginal infection, respiratory illness

    Here are some characteristics of a Preemie:

    • The head of the baby is extremely large and has a small-sized body

    • The doctor observes Lanugo (body of the baby is covered with fine hair)

    • The skin of the baby is too thin

    • Under-developed facial features

    • The temperature of the baby’s body will be relatively cold in a normal room

    After a quick examination, your preemie might be shifted to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Before finalizing the hospital for your delivery, you must ensure that the hospital has all the well-equipped facilities. The doctor might put your preemie in an incubator to maintain the temperature of the body. Doctors can easily feed the baby through the holes in the incubators. If needed the doctors might do some tests for your premature baby like:

    • Blood tests

    • Ultrasound scan

    • Fluid input and output

    • Breathing and heart rate monitor

    • Echocardiogram

    • Eye exam

    If your preemie is suffering from jaundice then the doctors will put your baby under special bilirubin lights. Certain medications might be given to your baby if needed and to treat certain complications related to organs of the body then your preemie might undergo surgery as well. The lactation counselor will guide you on how to store the pumped-out breast milk and feed your preemie. After getting discharged from the hospital and going through so much in your pregnancy it's highly important to take good care of your preemie at home. The doctor will allow you to take your preemie home only when he/she can breathe on their own, can take breastfeeds or bottle feeds, has to gain appropriate weight, and stays warm without any help. No matter how low you feel you have to invest ample time with your little one because a preemie needs a lot of attention and care. Each baby is different and takes its own time to grow. Here are some tips that you must keep in mind while taking care of your preemie:

    • Once you are at home with your preemie you must not allow too many visitors because that can protect your infant from exposure to germs.

    • Once you attain stable health you must hire a nanny or a caregiver for your little one. You must give enough time to cuddle and pamper your preemie.

    • If you are already a mother then make sure you give enough time to both the kids. If in case your preemie is in hospital then you should explain the condition to your elder child.

    • You can consult a healthcare provider if you are unable to understand what your preemie is going through.

    • Sing a lullaby or check for illness if your baby doesn’t stop crying. Keep a check on the baby’s feed and wet diapers.

    • If your preemie is facing reflux then you must consult a pediatrician and change the feeding bottle’s cap regularly. Make your baby burp after the feeding session.

    Is this helpful?



    Verified Article by

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO
    Written by



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