While obstetricians do everything in their power to prevent premature labor, there is often nothing that can be done to stop pre-term labor. Occasionally, babies are born before the 37th week and are referred to as preemies. Babies born closer to their due date tend to be healthier, but this does not mean there is no hope for babies born much earlier. Development may occur slowly over time, but understanding what to expect will make the process much easier. This guide will demonstrate some expectations you should have for your preemie.
1. Preemie Placement
Following birth, a preemie is often placed in an incubator, which is sort of an enclosed bed, so that the hospital can stabilize the infant's temperature. You may see wires and tubes attached to your baby in the NICU, all of which are meant to monitor him closely.
2. Breathing Difficulties
Breathing is often difficult at first for a preemie. For this reason, your baby may be hooked to a respirator or oxygen. Babies are also sometimes attached to a bubble CPAP, which may appear alarming at first.
3. Food for Premature Babies
Babies born early may not be ready to breastfeed or take milk from a bottle. For this reason, a preemie is often fed intravenously. This does not take very long, and soon the baby is typically ready to eat like any other baby.
4. Health Concerns Are More Common
Certain types of health issues are more common in babies born prematurely. These include jaundice, respiratory illness, sleep apnea, and anemia. Additionally, babies born this early are also more susceptible to infection due to their weak immune systems. Babies this young often lack the antibodies necessary to fight back against infection.
5. Contact Is Limited
If your baby is still in an incubator, you may be able to lovingly touch his skin. This becomes very important as a bonding exercise with your little one. Eventually, you will be able to have much more contact with your baby, even holding him close to you.
6. Feeling Anxious or Uncomfortable is Totally Normal
If you feel uneasy about being in the NICU, you are not alone. Many parents actually find themselves afraid of the unit, especially because the idea of seeing their baby attached to machines can be scary. It is important to remember that you are in the same shoes as many other parents, and you have medical staff to help you understand the situation.
Contact a company like B and B Medical Technologies for more information about the kinds of technology your baby may need.