premature babies

What do you know about premature babies? The question itself may seem easy to answer: We've all heard about babies that need special care because they come to life before they are expected to.

Well, if we scratch under the surface, there's a lot more to consider regarding premature babies or preemies, and that's what we'll try to do in this post. 

Are you ready to 'visit' a neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU)? Please, come on in!


What is a premature baby?

First and foremost, you have to know that premature babies are those who are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Remember that pregnancies normally last an average of 40 weeks, so a preterm birth occurs more than three weeks before the little one is due. And, of course, that entails consequences, as the newborn won't be ready to survive on his own outside of the womb yet. Luckily, scientific progress allows us to overcome such a difficulty.


Characteristics and levels of premature babies 

Depending on how early they are born, preemies are divided into different categories:

  • Late preterm: it's the most common one, and it happens when babies are born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Boys tend to be 46cm, weight 2.5kg and have a head circumference of 32cm. Girls: 45cm (length), 2.4 kg (weight) and 31.5cm (Head c.).

  • Moderately preterm: when they are born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Boys tend to be 42cm, weight 1.8kg and have a head circumference of 29.5cm. Girls: 42cm (length), 1.7 kg (weight) and 29cm (Head c.).

  • Very preterm: when they are born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. Boys tend to be 36.5cm, weight 1.1kg and have a head circumference of 26cm. Girls: 36cm (length), 1kg (weight) and 25cm (Head c.).

  • Extremely preterm: when they are born at or before 25 weeks pregnant. Boys tend to be 31cm, weight 0.65kg and have a head circumference of 22cm. Girls: 32cm (length), 0.60kg (weight) and 21cm (Head c.).


Premature babies: Needs... and special needs

When dealing with premature babies, there's something you need to keep in mind: the earlier they are born, the higher the risk of further complications. If newborns already need a lot of attention under normal circumstances, just imagine how much additional help a preemie may require. For a start, he may be born without enough body fat to maintain his body temperature, and that's why he may have to be placed in an incubator that can keep him warm and prevent infections. These electric 'baby beds' adapt to the little one's temperature, which is measured by a tiny thermometer stuck to his skin.

Regarding baby's feeding, it's important to pinpoint that premature babies can't be directly breast or bottle-fed unless they are born after 32 to 34 weeks of pregnancy. They also need to be fed in small amounts at a time to prevent the risk of contracting a gastrointestinal infection called necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), which is the second most common cause of mortality among preemies. Almost all premature babies are given calcium and phosphorus supplements, either through a special formula or by adding them to breast milk whenever it's necessary.


Problems and complications of premature babies

Depending on how early your child is born, he may have to face common short-term problems typical of premature babies. These include:

  • Breathing problems: if the baby's respiratory system isn't fully developed, like when his lungs aren't able to expand and contract due to the lack of a substance named surfactant, he may suffer from neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Apneas, pauses in the breathing, can also affect preemies.

  • Heart problems: low blood pressure and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) are related to premature births as well. When left untreated, the latter can lead to heart failure.

  • Brain haemorrhages: some preemies suffer from mild brain haemorrhages that can be easily treated, but there are times when the blood accumulates in the brain, causing hydrocephalus, which requires surgery.

  • Gastrointestinal problems: as pointed out earlier, premature baby development can provoke gastrointestinal problems, such as necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).

  • Temperature problems: when the newborn lacks the necessary body fat to regulate his body temperature properly, complications like hypothermia may arise.

  • Blood problems: anaemia and infant jaundice (yellow discoloration in the baby's skin and eyes, due to an excess of bilirubin), are common blood problems among premature babies.


Future development in premature babies

Once your baby leaves the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), and as time goes by, he'll have to be checked regularly by your paediatrician, like any other child of his age. However, he'll need to undergo visual and hearing tests, along with other medical evaluation focused on his nervous system, motor skills development, like sitting or walking, and muscle tone. In these follow-up appointments, the doctor will also check your baby's speech development and behaviour, since it's pretty common that premature babies need special help from speech therapists or physiotherapists as they grow.

Yet again, it's hard to predict aspects like premature babies survival rates or how premature birth is going to affect your child in the long run. Just so you know, premature babies may suffer from long-term complications, such as impaired cognitive skills, vision and hearing problems, dental problems, behavioural issues, like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and certain chronic health conditions, like asthma. 

Keep in mind that premature babies can be slower in reaching baby milestones as well: in order to monitor them, you should take into account the date they were supposed to born.


What you can do

Most women have a bad time coping with premature births, and it's understandable. The excitement of giving birth gets partially overshadowed by your baby's health and his special needs. As some of these newborns have to spend some time in the incubators, mums usually worry and feel frustrated, because they can do nothing but leave their little ones in the hands of professionals. Yet, there are things they can do indeed to make the best of the situation. Here's some advice:

  • Find out as much information as you can about your preemie's condition, so that you can handle the situation better.
  • Be aware of any change in your baby's condition. If you notice any, contact the medical staff right away.
  • Learn how to express milk from your breasts and try to pump six to eight times everyday.
  • If possible, spend time with your little one... don't be afraid of hurting him, because after all, he needs his mummy too!

It's normal for you to focus on your little one right now, but you can't forget about yourself. You just gave birth and you need to heal as well! Be aware of your emotions and try to be positive. When you can't, accept help from others and seek support by talking to other people under the same circumstances, like other NICU parents. Remember that you first need to recover, both physically and emotionally, to take care of your preemie in the best way possible.


One in 10 to 15 newborns are premature babies, and most of them turn out to be ok. Having a premature birth may not be ideal, or what you were dreaming of, but luckily there are ways to support your premature baby development up to healthy standards.


Need help? Ask other mummies in CaptainMums' forum!


Activity Stream

PollyBlair added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 23 hours ago 59 minutes ago

Keeping youngsters in school is a significant test for some families. The financial needs of the family unit regularly exceed the longing guardians need to send their children to class. Young ladies specifically are frequently saved home to think about more youthful kin and do family errands. Government Jobs in Balochistan 2020...

marimari added a reply in discussion Who is sport betting?... yesterday

Some time ago, I was betting on sports until I found an article in this blog about online casinos. I like gambling, so online casinos are much more suitable for me. I'm not good at sports. I earn a lot more money when I play my favorite slots....

Cadencealida added a new event yesterday

Detailed introduction to the Road to Exile 2

Free action role-playing video game Path of Exile, part...

  • Saturday, 22 February 2020 12:00 AM
  • Los Angeles, CA
swipka888 added a reply in discussion Who is sport betting?... yesterday

As for me, I really like sport betting opportunities and to make money on it. Recently, I started to use basketball scores that are helping to make money online and to get additional information as well....

Kallly77 added a reply in discussion Who is sport betting?... yesterday

There are a lot of different ways to make money online....

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post. I will visit your blog regularly for Some latest post. Knowledge Broker Blueprint Review...

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Knowledge Broker Blueprint Review...

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

Cool stuff you have and you keep overhaul every one of us Knowledge Broker Blueprint Review...

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

As a seller of legal steroids, you can buy Crazy Bulk products, explore stacks and finally get the body you’ve always wanted Leptitox...

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

I think about it is most required for making more on this get engaged Leptitox...

mrseo added a reply in discussion Children's education?... 3 days ago

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! Knowledge Broker Blueprint...

mrseo is now ranked up to New Member... ! 3 days ago
Cadencealida added a new event 3 days ago

NBA 2K20: 5 most cost-effective Amethyst Point Guards...

If you just started using MyTeam this year, you will face...

  • Thursday, 20 February 2020 12:00 AM
  • Los Angeles, CA
Megaomgchen added a new event 3 days ago

Madden 20 earlier and franchise style

Madden 20 earlier and Mut 20 coins franchise style say YoU...

  • Thursday, 20 February 2020 12:00 AM
  • 01,beijng
Alisa77 added a reply in discussion What was the last thing you bo... 3 days ago

My last purchase was a copper cookware set. I should say, it took me some time to choose a proper one. But I was lucky to find ProductAdvisor. This source provides its visitors with the real-time buying guides, so you can find much useful information about various products and even find out their price on Amazon. Personally I really liked it and I'...

Dezelk added a reply in discussion Travel... 4 days ago

Personally, I generally love traveling and I think that this is one of the best ways to broaden my horizons. When you see how people live in other countries, it is as if you are looking at the world with different eyes and this is sometimes very motivating. And also I get new inspiration and motivation to work more actively on my business. In the s...

Victorykaif started a new discussion Travel... 5 days ago

Do you like to travel? You take your kids to trip or not? And what places you recommend to visit in 2020?...

crisslyn started a new discussion Cardboard Boxes Protections fo... 5 days ago

Cardboard Packaging really have key advantages like the cardboard is a material that seduces as much by its resistance as by its solidity. It has the ability to easily withstand heavy loads. This advantage is due to its composition which includes the superposition of several sheets of paper thus providing a sufficient thickness. This thickness is k...

Cadencealida added a new event 5 days ago

NBA 2K20: Kawhi Leonard's Pink Diamond Card and All-Star...

Kawhi Leonard shot from Chicago's three-pointer in the NBA...

  • Tuesday, 18 February 2020 12:00 AM
  • Los Angeles, CA
ClaytonKaty added a reply in discussion A gift for my husband... 5 days ago

I ordered a great guitar for my husband, which has a great musical history) He has been looking for this for a long time, but unfortunately I could not find it in my country. That is why I turned to an international site and ordered online. I did not dare to bring it on my own, and I turned to the customs broker who was able to ...

ESO201722 started a new discussion RSorder OSRS Birthday Celebra... 6 days ago

When people are buying a treasury, they going to have to get a higher interest rate, she rs07 gold revealed. rates will have to go up because now there is a risk in owning treasuries. Never before, first time ever. When interest rates go up, they go up across the board. If you happen to have an adjustable rate mortgage, on your home, your interest ...

rodeoneerer is now ranked up to New Member... ! 6 days ago
rodeoneerer started a new discussion 2K Games pays tribute to Kobe ... 6 days ago

buy NBA 2K20 MT Coins The news of the death of Kobe Bryant shocked the world of sport and many others from it. The famous basketball player died in a helicopter crash at age 41 in Calabasas, United States while moving to a basketball game while traveling with 8 other people including his 13-year-old daughter. The athlete had many years using thi...

Cadencealida added a new event 6 days ago

NBA 2K20 Pink Diamond Dunk Contest Aaron Gordon MyTeam Card

Aaron Gordon deservedly won the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk...

  • Monday, 17 February 2020 12:00 AM
  • Los Angeles, CA
vickyyihui is now ranked up to New Member... ! 6 days ago