Preparing for a Preemie

preemieIt is inevitable that some women are going to give birth to premature infants, and understanding preemies will make the process much easier. A premature baby is defined as an infant that is born three or more weeks before their due date.

So why do preemies occur? Many reasons, but here are a few:

  • Premature delivery due to danger to mother or infant's health
  • Delivery of multiples (twins, triplets, etc)
  • Onset of early labor that cannot be stopped with medication
  • Trauma to baby or mother
  • Pregnancy condition, such as placenta previa (placenta blocking cervix) or preeclampsia (high blood pressure), that results in early labor

The key to remember if you are at risk of having a preemie is that although there are possible complications that arise, medical advancements have lead to a staggering increase in the survival rate of premature infants. So, while your little bundle of joy may arrive a few weeks earlier than planned, there is likely nothing to worry about.

The main issue that many preemies have is that they are unable to breathe on their own when first born. A fetus' lungs usually develop between 35 and 36 weeks; so a baby born before that time may not have mature lungs. If there is time, doctors will administer a steroid that will help speed up the maturing of the lungs, but it is likely that your baby may have to be placed on a ventilator for a short while.

Another common preemie problem is that they generally do not have the ability to feed when they are first born. This is because they haven't developed those all important muscles that are used for feeding and sucking. If this is the case, your baby may be kept in the natal unit until they can feed on their own. In the meantime, you can start pumping, and your breast milk can be given to your baby thru a feeding tube.

While you may be tempted to panic when you realize that you are having a preemie, try to relax. Giving birth to a preemie is something that happens to many mothers, and you will not love your little one any less for it.

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Preparing for a Preemie

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12 comments

  1. Alanna says:

    This is good to know just in case.

  2. This is great information to have just in case it does happen to me. My son went past his due date.

  3. I didn’t think I was at risk for having a preemie,but at 30 weeks my doctor said I am having contractions and I need to take it easy.

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  6. My daughter was born 4 weeks early and thank God there were no complications! She came home with me!

  7. Julie says:

    I just hit my 37 week mark so technically I am now considered full term. I am so glad I do not have to worry about this any longer.

  8. SammysMOMMY says:

    I’m supposed to go into preterm labor but hope that my son is strong and ready for the outside world when it happens!

  9. SammysMOMMY says:

    They have a steroid injection they can give you to speed up the baby’s lung development before they are born. I’m expecting to deliver early and so next week I am going in for that shot!

  10. Sharee says:

    I WANT MY BABY BEFORE DUE TIME BUT I DON’T WANT HIM TO HAVE TO SUFFER BECAUSE HE CAME EARLY.

  11. McKenzie says:

    Wow I hope my pregnancy goes well having a preemie makes me a little nervous just the whole fact that the lungs are not fully developed or they can’t really feed I hope I have a healthy baby, if I have a preemie I will still love him or her the same.

  12. yuliya says:

    Why would anybody love preemie less? I would love him even more. Very strange note at end of good article…

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