Premature Babies

I am a 249 days / 8 months, 1 week & 2 days old baby

Premature Babies also called: Preemies

A premature baby, or preemie, is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature birth occurs in between 8 percent to 10 percent of all pregnancies in the United States. Because they are born too early, preemies weigh much less than full-term babies. They may have health problems because their organs did not have enough time to develop. Preemies need special medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. They stay there until their organ systems can work on their own.[1]

The risk factors

Among the risk factors that may increase your chances of having a premature baby include:

* Having delivered a previous premature baby, which puts you at a 20-40% of having another premature baby.
* Multiple gestation pregnancies, such as twins, triplets, etc. The risk increases with each additional fetus.
* Placental abruptions and placenta previa are two causes of bleeding that can lead to a premature delivery.
* Having too much (polyhydramnios) or too little (oligohydramnios) amniotic fluid.
* Infections during pregnancy, especially if they spread to the uterus or placenta.
* Diabetes.
* High blood pressure.
* Preeclampsia, which causes maternal high blood pressure, proteinuria (spilling protein in your urine), and swelling.
* Maternal smoking or use of illicit drugs.
* Maternal malnutrition, especially if it leads to poor weight gain during pregnancy.
* Fibroids, an abnormally shaped uterus and cervical incompetence.
* Becoming pregnant while being treated for infertility, having a previous abortion in the 2nd trimester, and not having prenatal care.
* Problems with the fetus can also lead to a premature delivery, including infections, poor growth and certain birth defects.[2]

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of imminent spontaneous preterm birth are signs of premature labor; such signs consists of four or more uterine contractions in one hour before 37 weeks' gestation. In contrast to false labor, true labor is accompanied by cervical shortening and effacement. Also, vaginal bleeding in the third trimester, heavy pressure in the pelvis, or abdominal or back pain could be indicators that a preterm birth is about to occur. A watery discharge from the vagina may indicate premature rupture of the membranes that surround the baby. While the rupture of the membranes may not be followed by labor, usually delivery is indicated as infection (chorioamnionitis) is a real threat to both, fetus and mother. In some cases the cervix dilates prematurely without pain or perceived contractions, so that the mother may not have warning signs until very late in the birthing process.[1]

Picture courtesy: dailymail.co.uk

premature babies
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Notes:

[1] nlm.nih.gov
[2] keepkidshealthy.com
[2] wikipedia.org