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At the time of birth, all babies are classified based on the number of weeks they have been in gestation. A premature baby is considered the one that is born before 37 weeks gestation.
If you are born between week 37 and week 42 of pregnancy, it will be a full-term baby and birth is considered within the ideal canons established to be born. And if it is born after the 42nd week of gestation, it is classified as a postmature baby.
Today it is considered normal for a baby to be born a little before or a little after the estimated date, although the ideal is that the average duration of a pregnancy is 40 weeks counted from the first day of the last menstruation.
In the past, a case of premature birth was a major cause of infant death. It was unknown what care babies born under these circumstances needed, and medical techniques were in short supply.
Today, the survival of premature babies is increasing. According to the latest statistics, of all babies born, even at week 28, 80 percent survive. In Spain, it is even possible that babies born at 22-24 weeks of age can cope.
- Low birth weight, i.e. less than 2.5 kg
- Smooth, thin, shiny, almost translucent skin
- Transparent skin, through which some veins can easily be seen
- Soft and flexible ear cartilage
- Presence of hair (lanugo) on the body
- Low body temperature
- Rapid respiratory rate
- Weak cry
- Weak sucking and swallowing
- Enlarged clitoris, in girls
- Scrotum small and devoid of folds, in children.
There are some signs that may indicate a possible premature birth. If a pregnant woman notices that she has some of these symptoms, she should go urgently to the hospital.
- Four or more contractions in an hour before 37 weeks' gestation
- A leak of amniotic fluid through the vagina, which may indicate premature rupture of the membranes that protect the baby
- Pressure on pelvis or feeling of weight, which may indicate that the baby is moving down the birth canal
- Menstrual cramps or abdominal pain
- Rhythmic pain or tension in the lower abdomen or back.
- Vaginal bleeding A complete gestation is one that has 280 days. If a baby is born before that time, it will not have been able to complete all its development and it will be somewhat more immature depending on the time it has taken to be fully developed. But that does not mean that this baby cannot recover.
When talking about a premature labor, the necessary measures are established to provide appropriate care to the baby and the mother. Immediate evaluation of the baby is the first step in establishing his needs.
Premature babies are generally unable to coordinate suction and swallowing before the 34th week of gestation and need to be tube-fed until receiving breastmilk.
Depending on how premature the baby is, the baby may not start to breathe immediately after his birth or that his respiratory effort is inadequate for the thoracic expansion and the corporal oxygenation, with which he must receive the support and the necessary assistance to overcome this deficiency.
You can read more articles similar to The premature baby, in the Premature category on site.