Having a kid born into a family is the most cherished moment for every parent. The birth of the child fills the lives of parents and other family members with unprecedented joy and happiness. Usually a pregnancy lasts for thirty seven weeks. This period is known as the gestation period. In normal cases, the baby is delivered on the completion of the gestation period. However at times due to complications, some babies are delivered prematurely.
Premature babies are those who are delivered between the twenty fourth and thirty seventh week of pregnancy. The babies who are born even before twenty four weeks are not able to survive in most cases. Since premature babies are born before the completion of the gestation period, usually their faculties are not wholly developed.
This makes them vulnerable and frail. They are prone to several health problems. Hence, they demand special attention and care to ensure their survival. Some of the complication which leads to premature deliveries includes misshapen uterus and/or presence of fibroid.
Premature babies can suffer from respiratory problems. Due to the collection of protein and other fluid in air sacs and sometimes, due to the collapse of the air sacs, the exchange of gases becomes difficult and they have problems in breathing. Feeding them breast milk is also difficult as they are too weak and frail.
The susceptibility to diseases like jaundice and infections increase in premature babies and they are more vulnerable to the effects of these harmful ailments. Some premature babies are born with congenital problems due to the inability of the faculties to develop fully. More severe complications include the risk of bleeding in the brain which can further lead to dilation of ventricles in the brain or expansion of cavities that contain fluid.
Respiratory problems in premature babies necessitate the need for artificial respiratory support. Once the baby is born, he is kept is intensive care until till the time the condition of the baby stabilizes and once the doctors are satisfied about the physiological condition of the child, only then he is discharged from the hospital.
The doctors make sure that the baby is able to breathe by himself before he is discharged and that he has gained a sufficient amount of weight. Though the baby is then allowed to go home, the parents need to ensure that the baby is provided special care and attention. Frequent visits to the pediatrician along with strict adherence to diet and routine plans prescribed by the doctors are a must to uphold the healthy development of the child.
At times, the baby might have to be fed with the help of a tube. To ensure that the baby gets the nutritious breast milk when he is not able to suck through the breasts, the mothers can pump their milk in a container. Parents of premature babies can undertake training in hospitals that will equip them with the knowledge about caring for such babies. An important thing to be kept in mind is that premature babies are prone to infections and hence hygiene should be maintained around them.