Pregnancy

Premature Babies

Premature babies need extra care though they are tiny bundles of joy. Children who are born before the 37th week of pregnancy are known as premature babies.  Premature babies weigh less compared to mature babies. Until the organs of a premature baby work on their own, the baby is kept in the NICU. This article focuses on the causes and health complications faced by premature babies.

Causes of Premature Babies

  • There are several reasons why a baby may arrive prematurely. The lifestyle choices of a mother, such as smoking, drinking and not eating properly may lead to premature babies.
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • A chronic illness or infection
  • A structural abnormality of the uterus
  • The mother is more than 35 years old or less than 19 years old

Needs of Premature Babies

Warmth:

It is important to keep the premature baby warm because he does not have the body fat required to maintain a proper body temperature. It can be achieved with the help of radiant warmers or incubators. Radiant beds run on electricity and they are warm open beds. Incubators keep the baby warm as well as decrease the chances of infection and water loss.

Nutrition:

Premature babies grow faster compared to normal babies, so they require special nutritional needs because their digestive systems are immature. Premature babies are at risk of suffering from narcotizing enterocolitis; therefore, they cannot be fed from the breast directly. In order to avoid this problem, premature babies are usually fed with the help of a pump through a tube, which goes from the child’s mouth into the stomach.

Health Complication faced by Premature Babies:

Hyperbilirubinemia:

This problem affects 80% of the premature babies and leads to excess bilirubin. Bilirubin is a compound which causes jaundice. Premature babies are treated in order to eliminate bilirubin by being placed under special lights.

Apnea:

Due to the immaturity in the area of the brain this problem is caused. The baby is unable to breathe and the heart rate decreases. In order to treat apnea, a baby is given a nasal device which blows a steady stream of air into the airways.

Low Blood Pressure:

The most common health complication that occurs in premature babies is low blood pressure. This happens due to infection, blood loss or medications which are administered to the mother before delivery.

Having a premature baby can be scary, but with the help of the medical equipment in the NICU, these babies get the help that they need to go home with their families as quickly as possible.

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