A premature baby is at risk of various diseases and death due to the incomplete growth of its organs and should be hospitalized and monitored for some time. In this article on “how”, we explain the cause of premature birth, the appearance and characteristics of the premature baby and the methods of caring for him.
Premature baby means a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The mothers of these babies usually do not know how to take care of their premature baby and they are scared. Premature babies are at risk for the disease, and the sooner they are born premature, the greater the risk. Therefore, it is very difficult to take care of a premature baby at home.
Causes of premature birth
Unfortunately, the cause of premature birth in half of premature babies is unknown.
Of course, some reasons can be mentioned:
- Multiple pregnancies;
- Problems in the mother’s uterus or cervix;
- Mother infection;
- The mother has a condition such as preeclampsia that forces the mother to terminate the pregnancy and give birth prematurely;
- The mother has underlying diseases such as diabetes;
- History of preterm delivery.
Appearance of premature babies
Premature babies born between 36 and 37 weeks of gestation are similar to babies whose mother is pregnant. But very premature babies are so small that they may even be the size of your hand. These babies look very fragile:
- The skin of these babies may not be fully developed yet, and may be clear, dry, and scaly. There is usually no fat under the skin of these babies and they should be kept warm.
- The eyelids of a very premature baby are closed at first and by the time he is 30 weeks old, he can only see his surroundings.
- The premature baby’s body may not be able to regulate temperature, respiration rate, and heart rate. It is also possible for the baby to become very stiff or dry or bent as it rolls around. He is usually unconscious.
- The premature baby has a little hair on his head. In fact, it has very soft, fluffy hair on its head instead of normal hair.
- The genitals of a premature baby may be small and immature.
Why do premature babies need special care?
The premature baby’s body is not complete and therefore not ready to live in this world. Different parts of the baby’s small body are not yet well developed, such as:
- digestive system;
- Safety system;
Fortunately, the medical technology of the modern world allows these babies to survive until they are fully strong, giving them a chance to grow.
Possible diseases of premature infants
Diseases that premature babies can get:
- Respiratory problems;
- Heart disease;
- Gastrointestinal problems;
Most premature babies are prone to a variety of diseases due to their underdevelopment and need special care. Premature babies may later develop the following problems:
- Open language late;
- Growth and mobility disorders;
- Oral diseases;
- Vision or hearing problems;
- Learning and thinking disorder;
- Emotional and social issues.
Calculate the actual age of the premature baby
When examining the growth of a premature baby, you need to determine its true age. In fact, you can determine the actual age of your baby by subtracting the calendar age (which counts from the day he or she was born) from the number of months he or she was born earlier. For example, if your baby is 6 months old and was born two months premature, his or her actual age is 4 months. That means you should consider him a 4-month-old baby in terms of growth. Most pediatricians do this calculation when evaluating premature infants until they are at least 2 years old, as premature infants usually reach their peers in terms of growth at this age.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The neonatal intensive care unit is actually the home and protective environment of the premature baby for a limited time. So it is wise to be as familiar with it as possible.
The neonatal intensive care unit has caring staff, monitoring and warning systems, respiratory and resuscitation equipment, and easy access to pediatricians and 24-hour laboratory services.
The sheer number of equipment in this section can sometimes seem daunting, but if you think about the different functions of these devices and the equipment that will help you, you will relax and not lose focus.
Monitoring and warning systems
Monitoring devices vary depending on the hospital and neonatal intensive care unit, but they all have the same function and record the following:
- heart beat;
- Number of breaths;
- blood pressure;
- Body temperature.
Also, using a pulse oximeter, the amount of oxygen in the baby’s blood is constantly measured.
Adhesive pads may be placed on the baby’s chest, legs, arms, and other parts of the body. These pads have wires that are connected to a TV-like display and display different numbers.
Alarms are activated periodically, and in fact, when this sound is heard, there is not necessarily an emergency. This is a normal situation and there is nothing to worry about.
Equipment for the care of premature infants
1. Chip tube
The tube is a type of chip that is inserted into a baby’s trachea to deliver warm, moist air and oxygen.
۲. Artificial respiration device
This device is sometimes called a respirator. Using this ventilator, which is connected to the endotracheal tube, the amount of oxygen entering, air pressure and the number of breaths are controlled.
3. Airflow pressure is always positive
This method of breathing is suitable for infants who can breathe on their own, but cannot breathe.
4. Oxygen hood
An oxygen hood is a transparent plastic box that attaches to a tube and pumps oxygen to the baby.
Baby feeding methods
Different equipment is used to feed the baby according to his needs.
1. Intravenous tubes
These tubes carry nutrients directly to the baby’s bloodstream. These tubes are used for premature babies whose digestive system is not yet well developed and who are not able to swallow and breathe naturally. Of course, this method is sometimes used for babies who have other physical problems. In this procedure, intravenous tubes are placed in the baby’s head, hands, or feet.
۲. Navel catheter
In this procedure, with a simple and painless surgery, a tube is inserted into one of the umbilical cord blood vessels. Of course, this method also has risks such as infection and blood clots. Therefore, this method is used only in very critical cases and when the baby needs this type of feeding for at least a few weeks. This feeding method is safe and the most effective feeding method for babies who are in critical condition.
3. Oral and nasal feeding
In this feeding method, thin tubes of flexibility are attached to the nose (nose-stomach tube) or mouth (mouth-tube) and nutrients are sent to the baby’s stomach.
4. Central catheter implanted peripherally
The central catheter implanted through the periphery, also known as the PICC line, is an intravenous tube that is inserted into a vein, most often the vein of the baby’s arm. In fact, a larger vein can be used with this tube. This method is used when nutrients and medicine may damage the baby’s smaller veins.
Other premature baby care equipment
1. Baby Incubator
A baby incubator is a device used for intensive care of a premature baby. This device creates a closed and isolated environment and regularly provides the temperature, humidity and oxygen needed by the baby.
۲. Bailey lamps
Billy lamps have a bright blue fluorescent light and are placed inside the baby’s incubator to treat the baby’s jaundice. Jaundice or jaundice causes jaundice of the baby’s skin and eyes.
Premature infant care staff
Premature infant care staff usually consists of:
- Respiratory specialist;
- Occupational therapist;
- Breastfeeding consultant;
- Social worker;
A pediatrician is a pediatrician who has undergone additional training to care for premature and sick infants.
You should get to know the staff of this department well. They will give you good and useful information. In the meantime, you will find peace of mind when you know your baby is receiving the best possible care.
Kangaroo care is a technique in which a baby is placed on the breast without the mother’s clothes. In this case, the baby’s abdomen will be in contact with the mother’s abdomen and the baby’s head will be placed between the mother’s breasts and placed so that its corners are above the mother’s heart.
Numerous studies have shown that kangaroo care has significant benefits for the baby, including:
- The mother has thermal coordination with her baby, and if the baby cools down, the mother’s body temperature rises and warms her, and vice versa.
- In kangaroo care, the baby has easy access to the breast and skin-to-skin contact increases breast milk production.
- Kangaroo care takes the baby to a deeper sleep and provides more energy for other bodily functions and the baby gains weight. Weight gain reduces the length of time a baby is hospitalized.
- Kangaroo care strengthens the bond between baby and mother.
We all know that breast milk can strengthen the baby’s immune system as well as the emotional connection between mother and baby. But when a premature baby is born, the mother cannot breastfeed. Most premature babies born between 25 and 29 weeks of gestation are fed intravenously or intravenously.
If you want to breastfeed your baby yourself, you should tell your doctor and nurses immediately after the baby is born. In this case, your milk is stored for as long as the baby can feed. The baby’s gastrointestinal tract and electrolyte controls determine whether he or she can digest breast milk given to the baby through a feeding tube.
Once the baby’s condition stabilizes, the mother can breastfeed herself. Most babies born between 35 and 37 weeks of gestation are breastfed immediately.
Time of discharge of the baby from the hospital
The hospital will discharge your baby when it is sure it is safe for you and your baby to be safe at home. Premature Neonatal Intensive Care Unit staff will teach you and your baby’s father how to care for your premature baby.
You should also contact your pediatrician or pediatrician regularly in the future to check on your baby’s growth.
It is normal to be a little worried when caring for a premature baby at home after spending a long time in the hospital, but after a while you will get used to the home environment.
At home, gently caress and talk to your baby as much as you can. Do all the care recommended by your baby’s specialists to complete your baby’s development. We hope this article is a good guide for you. If you have experience in this field, we would be happy for you to share it with us.