Up to 13% of pregnancies in the United States result in premature births, where the baby is born before 37 weeks. If you have a premature baby, the Northeast Pediatric Associates PA team offers expert advice and support from birth. The team works closely with the hospital’s obstetrics and neonatal care staff to help your baby thrive. They provide follow-up premature baby care at their offices in Castroville, Schertz, and San Antonio. Call the office nearest you today or book an appointment online to find out how you can benefit from their expertise.
Premature babies — those born before 37 weeks — usually need additional care because they’re more likely to have health problems. The earlier your baby is born, the more care they’re likely to need.
Babies born after the 28th week of pregnancy that weigh more than 2 pounds 3 ounces often survive with expert premature baby care. Babies born earlier who weigh less are likely to suffer complications that require treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The Northeast Pediatric Associates PA team works with the NICU team to ensure that your baby receives the best possible care during this time.
An average full-term baby weighs around 7 pounds, whereas a premature infant might weigh only 5 pounds and sometimes considerably less. Because they have very little fat, premature babies get cold quickly. They need to go straight into an incubator or under a radiant warmer.
Babies born more than two months early often have breathing difficulties because their heart and lungs aren’t fully developed. This can starve the other organs of vital oxygen and cause serious health problems. Your neonatal care team will use a cardio-respiratory monitor to check your baby’s breathing and heart function.
Premature babies having problems breathing might need extra oxygen. Some will need to go on a ventilator or a breathing assistance device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure).
Having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit is distressing for you as parents. On top of the worry you have about your baby’s health, you aren’t able to hold your child as you would after a normal birth.
The NICU team understands how hard it is for you and, as far as possible, encourages you to spend time with your baby. You may be able to touch or stroke them even if you can’t hold them and help with feeding, bathing, and diaper changing.
Some premature infants need fluids intravenously (into a vein) or through a feeding tube. You can still pump and preserve breast milk to keep the supply coming. Breast milk is best for your baby, meeting their nutritional needs and boosting their immune system.
Your baby can go home with you once they’re steadily gaining weight, can breathe on their own, maintain their body temperature, and feed by breast or bottle.
The Northeast Pediatric Associates PA team will be on hand to help you. They’ll do regular health checks to make sure your baby is thriving and give you all the advice and support you need.
Call Northeast Pediatric Associates PA today or book an appointment online to find out more about premature baby care.