The expected normal birth for babies occurs at 40 weeks of pregnancy. Any birth before 40 weeks is called preterm birth and the baby born during this period is called a premature baby.

Since the premature baby cannot complete its normal development in the womb, it will need extra care after birth. There are some things that mothers who give birth prematurely should be afraid of, but this is directly proportional to how early the baby is born. The earlier the baby is born, the less time it has to develop in the womb and the more special care it needs. 

Premature babies are placed in an incubator to create the ambience of the womb, and these incubators make it easier for the baby to adapt to the outside world.

Why premature birth? 

The problem of premature birth, which has been on the rise in recent years, is a major disadvantage for both families and society. While there are many things you can do to prevent this situation, which creates both medical and social burdens, there are also factors that are out of your control. 

There are many causes of preterm birth, but almost all of them are maternal. The mother's body, which is even affected by genetically transmitted diabetes and blood pressure problems, can deliver her baby prematurely due to urinary or vaginal infection, which may seem harmless. 

We should underline that giving birth too often is also a cause of premature birth. In addition, the mother's use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth. In case of premature birth, it is useful to know that your baby's organs are not sufficiently developed and that they are not ready for this world. Remember to take care of your health and take care of yourself for a conscious pregnancy and a strong motherhood!

Can every preterm baby survive?

This depends on the developmental stage of your baby. Babies of 24-25 weeks can survive, but they need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit longer than babies of 30 weeks. These figures show the weeks that can be discussed when we look at the average. 

With the development of medicine in the world, the chances of life for premature babies are gradually increasing. In countries like Turkey, which have advanced healthcare teams and equipment, babies are more likely to survive. Therefore, mothers at risk of preterm birth or mothers who have given birth prematurely should not be afraid. Remember that the stronger you are both psychologically and physically, the easier it will be for your baby to hold on to life. 

How to breastfeed premature babies?

Babies born under 34 weeks of gestation will have insufficient breast-holding and sucking reflexes because their jaw muscles are not developed enough. This causes feeding problems in the baby. 

Depending on the week of birth, the baby can be fed by IV at first. This should not scare you. In order to develop the baby's sucking, swallowing and breathing reflexes, the baby's diet changes after the introduction of the IV. Once the reflexes are working properly, the baby is allowed to suck on the breast. 

Breast milk is an invaluable source of nutrition for all babies, but for premature babies its value is immeasurable. Doctors will therefore support the baby until it is ready to suck. If your baby won't suck, don't worry, formula will come to the rescue.

My baby was put in an incubator when he/she was born, should I be scared?

Babies start their journey of preparation for the world in the womb. This process takes 9 months to complete. During this 40-week period, the baby develops in many areas, including keeping its own body temperature constant, but if this formation period cannot be completed due to some anomalies such as premature birth, they try to connect to life with low body temperature. 

Other organs may also fail to develop, leading to breathing difficulties, heart problems and low body fat. Incubators are designed to create the closest environment to the womb for the baby. Since all the life support the baby needs is available here, the baby will complete the development that should be completed in the womb in an artificial womb atmosphere. 

How to care for a premature baby? What should be considered in premature babies?

After the baby and mother are discharged from the hospital, the baby's care process is more important than for normal babies. Although Turkish doctors will provide professional support to get you through the hospitalization process, the home care process that falls on you after discharge is very important, especially in the first 6 months.

Since the body temperature of the premature baby is likely to be low, it is of great importance to maintain the temperature. It is not recommended to bathe more than 2-3 times a week as they will have a more sensitive internal and immune system compared to normal babies.It is also worth mentioning that you should pay more attention to hygiene rules than normal.In terms of nutrition, breast milk should be the first choice, but if the mother does not have milk, if the baby needs to be fed with formula, you can get information from your doctor about the frequency and weight of meals.

If you are interested in topics related to baby care, you may like this article; How to care for the newborn umbilical cord?