The Premature Baby The Premature Baby A preterm or premature delivery is defined as the birth of the baby between the twentieth and the thirty-sixth week of pregnancy. A baby born during this time period is called premature. About 8 to 10 percent of babies in the United States and Canada are classified as premature. Preterm labor occurs because the mother goes into labor early. Most of the time there is no reason for this happening. Sometimes it is associated with the following; multiple pregnancy, abnormally shaped uterus, placenta previa, placenta abruption, high fever in the mother, untreated high blood pressure (toxemia), diabetes, sever infections in the mother, emotional and physical trauma.
If a mother goes into preterm labor she has a 25 percent of it happening again. There are many complications the delivery of baby prematurely, some of them include; the lungs may not be fully mature, many complications can also arise from the lungs not being fully mature such as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), and Bronchol Pulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). Both of these lung diseases can result in long term oxygen administration, and if the baby is out of the hospital re-hospitalization. Other problems with the preterm baby include Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Retinopathy of Prematurity (separation of blood vessels in the eyes), Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IUG), appears in the 30 to 40% of preterm infants usually in the first 72 hours of life. It may range from a Grade I Hemorrhage to a Grade IV hemorrhage.
Grade I being the least severe and Grade IV the most severe, also preterm babies are more likely to have jaundice. Do to medical advances in the care of premature babies they are now able to save babies that are a pound and even less. Despite these advance prematurity is still the leading cause of death in newborns. The parents of full term newborns are often surprised at the appearance of the babies. Parents of preterm infants are often shocked. The typical premiee weighs between 3 pounds and 4 pounds 3 ounces at birth and some weigh considerably less. The smallest can fit in the palm of your hand , and some have such tiny wrist that you can slip a wedding band over there wrist.
The premiee`s skin is translucent, leaving veins and arteries visible. It seems to fit loosely, because it lacks a fat layer beneath it and is often covered in fine layer of body hair called lanugo. Skin color changes when the baby is held or feed. Brown fat is absent so the baby can not keep itself warm. The baby`s ears may be flat or folded because the cartilage is absent. Sexual Characteristics are usually not fully developed.
There may not be an areola around the nipples. Because neither muscular nor nerve development is complete many reflexes have not developed such as grasping, sucking, startling, or rooting. With lack of strength and air, baby may cry little or not at all. He may also have apnea of prematurity, which is when they have cessation of breathing for a certain amount of time. This condition usually disappears around the corrected age of 6 months. Premature babies have a corrected age, and an actual age.
The corrected age is the that they would have been if they were born term. They use the corrected age to calculate growth, development, and many other things up until the age of 2, by that time most premiee`s no longer lack behind children there age. When a premiee is born the stress it puts on the family is tremendous, it brings much worry, stress, and confusion. The parents of premiee`s sometimes tend to blame themselves for the early arrival of there baby, though most of the time there is nothing they could have done to prevent this. The family don`t realize how small the baby is until they actually see it, no matter how much the doctors emphasize it.
Some parents seem to distance themselves from their baby, because of fears of death. When parents first see their baby all they really see is a very small helpless baby laying there, plus all the wires, monitor, and machines surrounding the baby. The hospital stay of premiee`s can range from a couple of days to months, depending on the baby`s size, gestation, and health condition. The first 72 hours of the baby`s life is the most critical. In most neonatal units the babies are separated by how critical they are, the most critical are in Room 1, where every baby has his/her own nurse.
The least critical are in room 5, where there is one nurse to about four or five babies. Most premiee`s are released around the time of their original due date, although some are released before, and some are released after. Before the hospital will release them you must be trained in Infant CPR, and the baby must be able to suck, swallow, and breath, and hold his/her own body temperature. And the baby must weigh anywhere from 4 lbs. To 6 lbs, before you can take them home.
When a preterm infant comes home, there are special precautions you must take, the doctors recommend that you keep the baby in for at least 4 months, and only allow immediate family around, and that during the months of April through November you keep the baby away from large crowds due to RSV, a potentially dangerous lung infection in premature babies. Your home temperature should be at least 72 degrees, and you should not have no kind of pets around the baby, also no smoking around the infant. Everyone should wash their hands before handling the infant. Medicine and Health Care.