Premature baby precautions

Premature Baby Precautions: All you need to know

Globally, 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, which translates to one in ten of all babies born worldwide. Normally, it takes approximately 40 weeks for a full-term delivery. However, premature birth occurs at fewer than 37 weeks, some occurring as early as before 32 weeks. As a result, the baby is more vulnerable to disorders like cerebral palsy, developmental disability, and problems with hearing and sight. In 2008, European parent organizations came up with an international awareness day on November 17. Since 2011, this day has been celebrated as World Prematurity Day.

Taking care of a premature baby is not an easy task. The baby requires special care and attention at every step of the way. As the baby is born before the organs have a chance to fully develop, it is important for the parents to be aware of some important premature baby precautions. Let us look at some of the common problems faced by premature babies and tips to handle them.

  • Breathing problems

As stated earlier, due to under-developed organs, most premature babies suffer from respiratory diseases. This can prove fatal if appropriate medical care and attention is not given. The baby must be admitted to a Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the earliest (within 2 hours of delivery) where it can be kept under watch and given the proper medical care it deserves.

  • Nutritional needs

Parents need to understand the importance of breastfeeding their babies. Breastmilk is known to counteract allergies, infections, and other diseases in babies. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that even premature babies are breastfed by the mother. If breastfeeding is not a viable option, using breast pumps is an excellent alternative. Breastfeeding also allows for ‘bonding’ between the mother and baby, which brings us to the next point.

  • Parental bonding and care

Maintaining skin-to-skin contact with the baby is very important in the case of premature babies. One of the most important premature baby precautions that must be taken is to ensure that the baby is never away from the mother if at all possible. A mother-baby bonding session ensures that the baby is stress-free and can help in regulating the baby’s heartbeat and breathing.

  • Checking temperature

Another important thing that must be kept in mind is the temperature. Always check the baby’s temperature along with the room’s climate control, if applicable, to ensure that the baby is always comfortable. This will allow the baby to sleep properly and will aid in healthy weight gain and developmental process.

  • Learn advanced caretaking

At one point or the other, the hospital will clear the baby’s release and allow it to be taken home by the parents. This happens only after the medical staff is positive that the baby’s health is stable. In preparation for this big change, the parents need to learn and follow the instructions given by the hospital staff to the T.

Premature baby precautions are there for a reason. These babies need specialized care when they come into this world. In fact, preterm birth is a critical part of Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG). It also aligns with the saying, ‘Every life is precious. Premature babies have every right to experience life to the fullest like anyone else. Spreading awareness about preterm birth through declarations like World Prematurity Day is the right step towards a better future.

Daniel is our UK-based freelance Editor. As part of our quest towards credible news, Doctor's Clinic Blog India affiliates with individuals from other parts of the world to provide an in-depth focus on essential topics. Daniel received his degree from the University of Sheffield, and since then, worked to multiple sites as a freelance contributor and editor.

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