Premature babies, otherwise known as preterm or preemies, are babies born earlier than full term which are normally at 38-40 weeks. Prematurity, even with all the advances in technology, unfortunately still occurs. Premature babies are weak and defenseless and in almost all cases need to be hospitalized. There for, the birth comes with little or no warning, cutting short an otherwise uneventful pregnancy. Not only are you anxious about your child being born, you are also faced with an unfamiliar world that is forced into life, the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
Most importantly is how to view and understand the NICU, a team that takes care of your baby using the latest technology and resources of any kind, from managing premature lungs, to ensuring the best nutritional support to achieve the best growth and development. It also involves the parents in the teachings and handling of a premature baby. With all the tubes and wires around the baby, a parent must overcome their fears. Parents are taught and encouraged to participate in their babies care and to be part of the care team. The parents must focus on love and support so that your baby can come home.
The main underdeveloped part of a preterm baby is their organs, chiefly the lungs and the brain. The lungs are typically developed in the last few weeks of a normal pregnancy and if born before 35 weeks, a baby may require special attention. Sometimes oxygen may serve the purpose or even a respirator and other life supporting devices to maintain the babies health. This can also lead to respiratory problems later in life.
Another challenge is the size and weight of the baby. A preemie looks helpless and thin, and also may have transparent skin. My two children were 32 weeks 2lbs 14oz, so the NICU was home for a while, a place to eat and grow and to overcome challenges brought to their health. I feel fortunate to have both of them eventually come home at 4lbs 8oz. A preemie doesn’t...
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