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Care of Newborns

Premature Babies

How to Take Care of a Premature Baby

A normal pregnancy lasts around nine months or about thirty eight to forty two weeks. Babies are considered to be premature babies if they are born before thirty-seven weeks old. Even though there are many different factors known to help in being able to predict exactly which pregnancies are at risk for premature delivery; you will find it shocking to know that in most cases, no causes found.

There are many different risk factors which are going to increase the chances of having premature babies. Some of those risk factors include:

  1. Diabetes will put you at risk of having premature babies
  2. High blood pressure you may be at risk of having premature babies
  3. Infections during your pregnancy, will increase the chances of having premature babies
  4. Drinking alcohol or doing illicit drugs while you were pregnant increases the risk of having premature babies
  5. If you have too much or too little amniotic fluid, you are also more likely to have a premature baby

If you are pregnant and you think that you may be at risk for having a premature baby, you will need to discuss this with your obstetrician. If your obstetrician thinks that you are at high risk, he or she will send you to see a perinatologist. A perinatologist is a doctor specializing in the field of high risk pregnancies.

If you think you are in pre-term labor, you will need to call your doctor right away. Signs of pre-term labor include uterine contractions as well as pain and an increase in vaginal discharge. If you know your baby is going to be born premature, you are going to need to talk with your pediatrician as well as the neonatologist before it is actually time to deliver. Once your baby is born, your baby will likely be put in the NICU which is the neonatal intensive care unit.

Once premature babies begin to gain weight and begin taking a bottle, they are generally able to go home. However, you should keep in mind that premature babies normally have to stay in the hospital until they are considered to be full term. Soon after you get home from the hospital, you are going to need to carry your baby is the doctor. During this doctor visit, the doctor will check the baby’s weight and they will ask how your baby is doing at home.

Make sure you talk with your doctor about feeding your baby as well. Your doctor may even decide to recommend your baby to take vitamins or iron as well as a special formula. Vitamins are normally given to a premature baby in order to help them grow and stay healthy. Your baby may also need a little extra iron. After your baby has reached four months old and taking the iron drops, your baby will have the exact amount of iron a full term baby has. However, your doctor may recommend your baby take the iron drops until they are at least a year old.

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