What is meant by premature baby?
Premature means that a baby is born several weeks earlier. Most women have their babies between 37-42 weeks. The due date is calculated at 40 weeks. So any baby born before the 37th completed week of pregnancy is termed as a premature or preterm baby.
What are the common infections that a premature baby is vulnerable to?
There are some common health problems that a preemie can experience which you should to know about:
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)
What are the symptoms of these infections that I need to look out for in my premature baby?
- Difficulty in taking feedings
- Temperature fluctuations
- Spotted skin colour/yellow tint
- Slower heart rate
- Breathing problems
- Lack in alertness or activity
Why do most premature babies have breathing difficulties?
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is the most common complication of preterm birth, affecting over 50% of babies born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. This is because a preemie's lungs and rib cage are not fully developed. 'Surfactant' is the substance that helps a baby breathe once it is out of the womb and because this hasn't developed entirely, the baby faces difficulty in breathing. This is the reason why premature babies have to be under a ventilator for a few days.