Every year, more than one in every ten babies is born prematurely, resulting in approximately 15 million preterm births. More than a million of these infants die, and a significant number face serious, prolonged health issues. Premature birth is a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of where they live, their culture, or their socio-economic status.
On November 17, we observe World Prematurity Day, created by the March of Dimes, to show empathy and support for families dealing with the stress of premature births. We embrace our children from the day they are born. World Prematurity Day raises awareness of premature babies and the health issues they may face as they grow. These babies require a lot of love and support, and World Prematurity Day is an occasion to show it.
Here we are answering important questions to emphasise the critical significance of neonatal care before and during the vulnerable time in a child's life.
What is a Preemie?
Premature birth is the term used to describe babies who arrive before the 37th week of pregnancy. Mothers frequently feel anxious and frightened when caring for premature babies. Infants who are delivered prematurely are more likely to experience difficulties, and the risks grow with time. The neonatal intensive care unit will treat any issues a premature baby may have (NICU). Here is a basic overview of what to expect when caring for a newborn preemie.
Why Do Preemies Require Additional Care?
Preterm babies are not completely prepared for living in our environment. The lungs, digestive system, immunological system, and skin are still in an underdeveloped phase. Preemies may now, thankfully, make it through the first several days, weeks, or months of their lives until they are healthy enough to subsist on their own.
Taking Care of Your Tiny Tot
Giving their children the finest care possible can be stressful for new parents.
Breathe in deeply. With a little expertise, you can parent with assurance, give your newborn the care they need, and cherish every second of your time together.
- Communicate with your Paediatrician and the NICU: To get the specialised care they require to develop after birth, preterm newborns are frequently admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). You have a fantastic opportunity to pick up the skills you'll need once your child gets home. Clear all your doubts and keep a close eye on what the nurses and doctors are doing throughout this period. The NICU team will assist you with practising feeding, changing, and showering your baby, as well as administering medications based on the level of development.
- Baby's Specialized Feeding: You will decide whether your baby receives formula or breast milk in the NICU. Breastfeeding is the most recommended one, which contains essential nutrients and antibodies for a baby's immunologic growth and formation. To fulfil the high nutritional needs of premature babies, breast milk frequently needs to be supplemented with additional protein, vitamins, and minerals, despite the fact that it is already nutrient-dense. This is achieved by combining human milk fortifier with breast milk, a specialist food item designed to support good growth in premature infants.
- Keep Everything Sanitised: Your baby's immune system is probably still underdeveloped even after you bring them home from the hospital. We stress the significance of taking extra care to safeguard your infant. Before holding your infant, make sure everyone’s hands are clean. You should wash your hands with soap whenever possible, especially while preparing food for your baby. Find out how to make and store infant formula properly in case you are in formula feeding.
- Stay Comfortable and Warm: When you have everything set up at home, dress your infant like you would wear yourself for the weather and season, and then top it off with pretty headwear to ensure comfort. We all lose a considerable amount of warmth through our skulls and compared to adults, newborns' heads are substantially larger in proportion to their overall size.
- Use Comparisons with Caution: After being brought home, your preterm infant will grow and develop quickly, making it simple to think that they will "catch up" straight soon. It's crucial to keep in mind that your baby's development will probably be interrupted by the same number of weeks or months that they were delivered prematurely. A baby born eight weeks early can be assumed to develop around eight weeks later than a kid born at the usual time. Take this into consideration during feedings, when introducing baby foods, and when your paediatrician shares your baby's development readings with you. If you have any concerns, paediatrician appointments are an excellent opportunity to discuss them.
- Try to Keep the Baby Close: You can practise kangaroo care by putting your baby in a nappy and allowing them to rest on your chest. It lessens the suffering or pressures your child experiences. Additionally, it encourages healthy weight gain and aids in controlling the baby's breathing and heart rate. You'll be able to deepen your bond with your child in this way.
- Make Routine Follow-ups: Do not disregard the routine follow-ups. All newborns need vaccinations, growth monitoring, and neurological assessments at regular intervals, but premature babies especially need them on time.
- Have a Maternity Insurance Plan: The maternity benefit of maternity coverage extends beyond just the delivery of the child to cover the newborn's up to the first 90 days of life. This implies that any medical issues and necessary pre and post-hospitalisation expenses are also covered.
As a final note, recognise danger indicators early and decide promptly to go to the hospital immediately. Rehospitalisation rates for NICU graduates are greater than those of the general infant population. The best time to get ready for a crisis is right now before it happens. Find the quickest way from your house and the closest hospital emergency. If you think your baby's condition is critical, be ready to call an ambulance. Save the NICU number for guidance. Before being released, caregivers should complete BLS (Basic Life Support) training. Above all, make sure your child is covered under a comprehensive maternity insurance plan so that you can rest assured of delivery-related expenses.
Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.