If every expectant mother were to know that their baby had made plans to arrive earlier than expected then word has it that all pregnant women would be prepared and ready for the arrival of the premature baby. Unfortunately the word premature means just that – earlier than expected with no guideline to times or dates.
We all have faith in our doctor and trust that the due dates he or she gives for the birth of our babies is 100% accurate. So you can understand why a premature birth can come as a surprise or shock for the pregnant woman. It is at a time like this where some confused women question the GPs prognosis. Believe me when I say doctors are never far wrong in their calculations, but alas, they hold no crystal ball to foresee or predict that there is a premature baby on the way.
Premature babies need a lot of care and attention after leaving the womb so this is why we give thanks to the world of modern technology and to all the life saving masters in the medical profession that nurture our before-time babies with their knowledge, thus increasing the odds for their survival. Hospitals today are well equipped to deal with emergencies like early births. The welfare of the premature baby is first and foremost in all hospital maternity wards.
The reasons given behind why a woman may go into labour earlier than anticipated are all health related factors e.g. smoking-poor diet-infections-twins-cervical ineptitude and other conditions that can be life threatening such as pre-eclampsia. All of these can speed up the process where premature baby births are likely.
Premature births can cause problems for the new born baby where their ability to breathe properly is hampered by under developed lungs.
Babies delivered earlier than 32 weeks and weighing approx 3lb 5oz are normally born with under developed lungs which cannot conceal surfactant, a kind of frothy matter that holds back the inner surfaces of the lungs from sticking together and because of this the infant may experience severe breathing problems – Respiratory distress syndrome otherwise known as RDS.
Depending on how early the baby is born the more prone they are to suffer from RDS.
Birthing after the thirty second week then this condition is less of a problem. If doctors feel you are at high risk of going into labour sooner than your due date then a course of injections/injection can be administered to help strengthen your unborn babys lungs.
A premature babys immune system is not fully developed so therefore makes them more vulnerable to infections. Early babies usually develop a touch of jaundice due to an immature liver which is treatable by doctors with the medical aid of phototherapy lamps.
Babies born at 22-23 weeks have a 24 per cent chance of survival, at 24 weeks this rises to 31 per cent. Premature babies delivered at 25 weeks then their chances are increased by 50 per cent and from 32 weeks onwards most babies can survive without medical assistance.
During your pregnancy make sure to ease up on your intake or cut out things that are considered to bring on a premature birth. Pregnant women can become stressed throughout pregnancy (not all) which is not good for your health and that of your unborn child. A great option for you to consider in helping to combat stress is to take up Yoga. This type of exercise will help you relax before and after the birth. Yoga has proven to be very comforting for women. Before any form of exercise always consult your doctor
Premature babies can grow up as healthy as any other infant. November the 12th 1987 was the due date given to me by my doctor but my little boy decided to break the rules and made his appearance on September 23rd weighing in at 3lb 12 oz. My premature baby is now a strapping 6ft 2 mathematician.