A preemie is another term for a premature baby. These are babies born between 20 weeks and before 37 weeks of gestation. A healthy pregnancy should last for about 40 weeks, but sometimes the baby can come out before that, and thanks to current technology and advances to the medical world, it can thrive and live a healthy life.
There are three known types of premature babies. The first category encompasses babies born between 34- 36 weeks and is referred to as late preterm babies. The next one is called very preterm, and this one is for babies born at less than 32 weeks of their expected due date. The final category is the extremely preterm which has babies born at less than 28 weeks of their projected delivery date.
Reasons for getting a preemie
Getting a preemie could be because of;
• Multiple pregnancies
• Smoking cigarettes
• High blood pressure
Those born after 28 weeks of pregnancy and weigh a Kg or more have a nearly full chance of survival. Technology has made things easy, so if a mother gets a preemie, she shouldn’t panic, the baby will be well taken cared of.
How your preemie will look like
• Since the baby arrives considerably earlier, they tend to be smaller and consequently the head will appear bigger compared to the rest of their body.
• Likewise, their skin is usually a little thinner due to less fat in their body. It will also appear more transparent such that you can actually see blood vessels beneath it.
• Because the baby has less fat on their body, they tend to get cold even in average room temperature, which is why they need to be placed in an incubator immediately after birth.
• May have fine hair (lanugo) on both the back and shoulders
The behavior of your premature baby
As a mother, it’s essential to understand that your baby will act differently from the rest. The following are some observations you may pick;
• The baby will cry only softly or not at all
• They may have trouble sometimes breathing because their respiratory system is not fully mature
• If the baby’s delivery comes more than two months early, there might be some health problems arising from breathing difficulties. This is because some organs require oxygen. At such situation, doctors will closely monitor your baby to make sure growth is not compromised.
Once your preemie has been moved to special-care nursery, your interaction with him/her becomes limited. For a parent, it might be stressing not being able to hold, breastfeed, or bond with your baby after delivery. However, it is necessary for the well being of your baby. Despite not being able to touch your little one whenever you want, whenever you are in the special care nursery, touch her often and try to connect. If your doctor says it’s ok, you can also feed her. It’s good to be patient, and before you know it, you will be on your way home with your baby.