No mother ever expects premature babies but do you know that one out of eight mothers in America delivers before reaching the 37th week of their pregnancy?
Why does Premature Birth Happen?
Premature birth actually happens when labor itself starts without the breaking of the water. About a quarter of premature births happens because of complications that may risk either the mother or the child. The premature labor is linked with some of the following reasons:
- In case the uterus is full and stretched because of twins or the presence of amniotic fluid.
- Due to cervical weakness
- If you have spontaneous history of premature birth
- If the waters break early
- Bacterial infection in the bag of water
- Womb abnormalities
- Heavy bleeding
You might not be happy about premature birth but don’t worry, your baby will become healthy within a short time. Premature babies grow faster than the full-term newborns. The only thing that you have to be careful about is their special nutritional needs. Your breast milk will provide all the nourishment that the baby needs. It contains antibodies which are very effective in protecting the baby from infections.
Taking Care of the Premature Babies
It is obvious that premature babies require special care. Here are some tips to look after your baby in the best way:
- Bonding with premies can be tough as they are often attached to ventilators, IV lines, and feeding tubes. As soon as your baby becomes stable, he/she will need kangaroo care. Holding the baby directly on the chest is recommended. Skin to skin contact helps the baby to gain weight, enjoy body warmth and sleep well.
- Sleep apnea is very common in premature babies. If you are still in the hospital, the baby is placed in the NICU on his tummy to expand the undeveloped lungs. When you have taken your baby home, place him/her down to sleep on the back. You will have to get accustomed to keeping waking your baby after short intervals because premies need to eat often.
Usually, premature babies are allowed to go home when they reach 38 weeks. Even if your baby no longer needs special equipment, you have to take precautions. A preemie is always highly susceptible to viral infections. Everyone in the home should use alcohol-based hand gel. If someone in the house is sick, do not let him hold the baby. Make sure your home is peaceful for the baby. Bright lights, loud music, and commotion can be really upsetting for premature babies. You might have to become anti-social just for your baby but it won’t last forever. Once your baby becomes healthy just as a normal newborn, you can allow everyone to hold him/her without being cautious all the time.
What You Should Do?
You and your husband can join the hospital-based education & comfort program for premature babies to take special care of your baby. Don’t feel shy in asking help from friends and family, they can be a great source of support in this tough time for new mothers.