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Taking care of pre term and LBW babies

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A pre-term baby is the baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Since pre-term babies are not able to complete their development in the mother’s womb, they tend to have low birth weights. However, according to WHO, babies weighing less than 2500gms or 2.5kgs at birth are considered to be low birth weight (LBW) babies, irrespective of the term of pregnancy. And babies weighing less than 1500gms are very low birth weight babies.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Pre-term and LBW Babies Catch Up With Care. Pre-term and low birth weight babies need special care and attention after their birth, until the time they are able to catch up with growth and development suitable for their age. With proper care and attention, most pre-term and LBW babies catch up and lead normal and healthy lives as their peer group.

Care for a Pre-term and LBW Baby. A pre-term baby, when born, is kept in a special plexi-glass enclosure called NICU. Since these babies are unable to regulate their body temperatures efficiently, isolette is temperature controlled. Due to high susceptibility of these babies to diseases, the air to the NICU is also filtered.

Feeding a Pre-term Baby. A pre-term baby may be fed by alternate routes if her stomach is not yet mature. If a pre-term baby shows positive signs, mother’s milk may be fed to her through a tube or bottle, again depending on the maturity of her organs. Mother’s milk is to be given to the baby starting as early as possible. Early feeds of mother’s milk ensure better growth in pre-term and LBW babies as it not only fulfils the nutrient demands, but also provides immunity factors to the baby.

Please do not mention bottle feeding at all.

Nutrition is Crucial for Growth. Meeting high nutrient needs of these babies is difficult due to the immaturity of their intestinal tract. Efforts to improve nutrient intakes are therefore important. For normal or catch up growth to happen, the baby must receive required amounts of nutrients.

Pre-term Babies and Breathing Problems. Some pre-term babies may stop breathing for short periods when not on ventilator (Apnoea) and they start breathing again by gentle stimulation such as a tap or stroke. Though, a more serious breathing disorder called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) may occur in babies born before 32 weeks of gestation due to lack of surfactant in lungs, which causes some air sacs in the lungs to collapse. Babies having RDS may need to be given oxygen directly into the windpipe or be put to ventilator.

Challenges Faced by Pre-term Babies. It is difficult for pre-term babies to live outside the mother’s womb because their organs are still immature. They face the challenge of thriving and gaining maturity. Adding to it, the lack of stimulation from being in an isolette and the inability to move much make them more vulnerable and they spend most of their time sleeping. Though, the baby in the isolette can be stimulated by gentle touch of mother’s hands.

Kangaroo Mother Care is the Best Form of Stimulation. The most effective way to stimulate a baby is through touch. Kangaroo Mother Care is considered to be the best form of stimulation for a pre-term baby. The Kangaroo Mother Care concept was especially thought for premature and low birth weight babies, who needed extra care, warmth and nourishment than normal babies.

The pre-term baby is put vertically up with her head between the mother’s breasts. Kangaroo skin-to-skin contact fosters improved oxygenation, temperature regulation, sleep, feeding, alertness and infant survival. Kangaroo position also provides the baby with gentle stimulation of all sensory modalities like hearing mother’s voice, heartbeat, smell and touch.

Seeing Your Pre-term Baby Through.

The development of a pre-term baby may be slow and inconsistent, but they have a strong will to thrive and even slight stimulation can be very encouraging for its growth and development. There is nothing to worry if your baby is a pre-term baby. You can see her through this phase with extra care and the power of your love.

A pre-term baby is the baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Since pre-term babies are not able to complete their development in the mother’s womb, they tend to have low birth weights. However, according to WHO, babies weighing less than 2500gms or 2.5kgs at birth are considered to be low birth weight (LBW) babies, irrespective of the term of pregnancy. And babies weighing less than 1500gms are very low birth weight babies.

Pre-term and LBW Babies Catch Up With Care. Pre-term and low birth weight babies need special care and attention after their birth, until the time they are able to catch up with growth and development suitable for their age. With proper care and attention, most pre-term and LBW babies catch up and lead normal and healthy lives as their peer group.

Care for a Pre-term and LBW Baby. A pre-term baby, when born, is kept in a special plexi-glass enclosure called NICU. Since these babies are unable to regulate their body temperatures efficiently, isolette is temperature controlled. Due to high susceptibility of these babies to diseases, the air to the NICU is also filtered.

Feeding a Pre-term Baby. A pre-term baby may be fed by alternate routes if her stomach is not yet mature. If a pre-term baby shows positive signs, mother’s milk may be fed to her through a tube or bottle, again depending on the maturity of her organs. Mother’s milk is to be given to the baby starting as early as possible. Early feeds of mother’s milk ensure better growth in pre-term and LBW babies as it not only fulfils the nutrient demands, but also provides immunity factors to the baby.

Please do not mention bottle feeding at all.

Nutrition is Crucial for Growth. Meeting high nutrient needs of these babies is difficult due to the immaturity of their intestinal tract. Efforts to improve nutrient intakes are therefore important. For normal or catch up growth to happen, the baby must receive required amounts of nutrients.

Pre-term Babies and Breathing Problems. Some pre-term babies may stop breathing for short periods when not on ventilator (Apnoea) and they start breathing again by gentle stimulation such as a tap or stroke. Though, a more serious breathing disorder called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) may occur in babies born before 32 weeks of gestation due to lack of surfactant in lungs, which causes some air sacs in the lungs to collapse. Babies having RDS may need to be given oxygen directly into the windpipe or be put to ventilator.

Challenges Faced by Pre-term Babies. It is difficult for pre-term babies to live outside the mother’s womb because their organs are still immature. They face the challenge of thriving and gaining maturity. Adding to it, the lack of stimulation from being in an isolette and the inability to move much make them more vulnerable and they spend most of their time sleeping. Though, the baby in the isolette can be stimulated by gentle touch of mother’s hands.

Kangaroo Mother Care is the Best Form of Stimulation. The most effective way to stimulate a baby is through touch. Kangaroo Mother Care is considered to be the best form of stimulation for a pre-term baby. The Kangaroo Mother Care concept was especially thought for premature and low birth weight babies, who needed extra care, warmth and nourishment than normal babies.

The pre-term baby is put vertically up with her head between the mother’s breasts. Kangaroo skin-to-skin contact fosters improved oxygenation, temperature regulation, sleep, feeding, alertness and infant survival. Kangaroo position also provides the baby with gentle stimulation of all sensory modalities like hearing mother’s voice, heartbeat, smell and touch.

Seeing Your Pre-term Baby Through.

The development of a pre-term baby may be slow and inconsistent, but they have a strong will to thrive and even slight stimulation can be very encouraging for its growth and development. There is nothing to worry if your baby is a pre-term baby. You can see her through this phase with extra care and the power of your love.

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