..where little means a lot

Are You A New Mom?
Get free samples of Baby formula, Diaper
Baby Magazines, and Coupons.

By Planning Family

Understanding Your Premature Baby

A preterm or premature baby is one who is born before the 37th week. The degree of prematurity and the consequences vary. There is a good difference between a baby born at say the 24th week and the 36th week, because the longer the time spent inside the uterus the more developed and mature the baby will be.

A baby can also be born too small (below 5.8lb) and will need to catch up with their larger peers. Though a low-birth weight baby (born prematurely or not) is at a higher risk than larger babies medical care has made it possible for them to become normal healthy children in due course. Nevertheless feeding and bonding and all other aspects of parenting become a concern, because your baby is tiny and fragile. To feel anxious and afraid is normal because of the adjustment period that lies ahead.

Very premature babies rarely reach their milestones on time, until they are about three.

Causes of Prematurity

There are several reasons behind a premature birth, and in some instances, at least a third of them, the reasons are unknown. While it is scary to realize that a premature birth cannot be prevented, you can also understand that mothers should not blame themselves should they go into early labor. The probable reasons in the remaining cases are:

• Preeclampsia (which can cause insufficient blood flow in both mother and baby due to a defected placenta)

• Obstetric cholestasis which is a liver disorder in the mother

• Gestational diabetes

• Infection in the womb, bladder or vagina can trigger labor

• Twins or other multiple pregnancies

• Previous surgery to the cervix

• Lifestyle including smoking, poor diet, recreational drugs and high caffeine intake can cause preterm labor

Babies born early under 28th week appear more fragile with more transparent skin as they have very little fat on their bodies. The older the gestational age the less fragile he will look.

Your Preemie's Appearance

In the start a preemie may look very different from a term baby but these differences are temporary. Once they reach 40 weeks of gestation or their due date, they resemble the average newborn in terms of size and development. (Preemies just need some more time to get there).

• Babies will typically weigh between 1600gms (3.5lb) and 1900gms (4.3lb) or even less.

• Babies not having stayed long enough in the womb have little body fat and therefore appear frail with translucent skin. (In some babies the veins and arteries are visible).

• Baby's head will appear larger in comparison to the rest of the body

• Baby will have more body hair (lanugo) due to the soft down covering the skin which did not get shed.

• Immature circulatory system causes a preemie's skin coloring to change whenever he is handled or fed.

• Sexual characteristics are not fully formed, for example undescended testicles

• Baby's ears may be flat, folded or floppy because the cartilage has yet to develop.

• They often lie with hands and leg straight because the body hasn’t formed muscle control

• Baby will be less energetic and will require more sleep and rest

• Preemie may cry little or not at all, unlike term babies

Bringing your Baby Home

Most hospitals either discharge a baby when she/he reaches 40 weeks but occasionally it can happen 2-4 weeks before the due date. Babies are usually sent home on the following criteria:

• Baby is able to maintain normal body temperature in an open crib

• Baby is breathing on her own without supplemental oxygen

• Baby is free of any infection

• Baby shows no signs of apnea (pauses in breathing that can last 20 seconds or more)

• Baby is able to feed from breast or bottle

• Baby is making progress in terms of weight gain

The future

Leaving the womb early definitely means you will have a lighter and smaller baby. Rest assured a premature or low-birth weight baby will catch up quickly, with most growing to normal size. By the age of 2-3 there is hardly any difference between a baby born at term and one that came too soon!

Share this
Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
Home | About Us | Preconception | Pregnancy | Parenting |

Free Newsletters
| Contact Us | Feedback | Sitemap
All Rights Reserved. © 2022 Welcome Baby Home | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use