The special care for my premature newborns started immediately after birth. Twin A was unable to maintain a healthy body temperature so she was under a heating unit for a few hours after birth. Twin B had no health problems at birth, but care was amped up after birth to ensure no health problems developed. The real care started after the babies were discharged from the hospital and regular checkups were scheduled at the doctor’s office.
Special Care for Preemies
Premature infants are not fully developed when they enter the world. In the safety of the womb, lungs finish developing and the fetus gains body fat to protect him against temperature changes outside of the womb after birth. Other organs also finish developing by the 40th-week gestation. If the infant is born before the 40th week, some systems may not be ready to take on the outside world, so advanced care is needed to ensure the infant is healthy until development completes.
You will be asked to make a doctor’s appointment about one week after birth. Some pediatricians suggest earlier appointments depending on the infant’s condition at discharge from the hospital. If your infant is in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) that first appointment will be waived because round-the-clock care is being provided.
Doctor’s appointments will likely be scheduled more frequently to assess health during the first few months of life. If there are problems with lung development or illness, special care may be provided by a specialist.
Parents of preemies need to follow suggestions of the pediatrician closely. Breastfeeding, for instance, may have to be placed on the backburner if there are health problems that prolong hospital care. Some preemies are not developed enough to catch on to breastfeeding right away even after discharge, so patience is crucial. Even if your infant is not ready to breastfeed right away you can pump breast milk and feed your premature infant with a bottle if necessary.
You don’t have to walk on pins and needles around your premature infant and you may not spend tons of time at the doctor or specialist, but there are health concerns and changes you’ll need to make when caring for your premature infant. Patience and faith in your pediatrician are a must.