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With this infographic and the recommendations of Dr. Angelica Echeverry, you will know how to prevent premature pregnancy and the care of these babies
Newborns need a lot of care so that their development is optimal. However, when children are born prematurely, care increases and requires special attention.
Leer en español: Todo lo que debes saber de los bebés prematuros
LatinAmerican Post spoke with Dr. Angélica Echeverry, general hospital doctor of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to explain how to prevent a premature pregnancy and how to take care of your baby if it is born prematurely.
LP: Is it possible to determine if a pregnancy will end with premature birth? How?
AE: The way to determine if a pregnancy will end in prematurity is not entirely safe. However, it is through the assistance to the prenatal controls from the beginning of the pregnancy, where risk factors that the mother has or that are specific to the current pregnancy will be evaluated so that this happens, as well as for other unfavorable outcomes.
Risk factors such as:
- The antecedent of the mother's premature birth in some previous pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancy (twins)
- Maternal infection during pregnancy
- Uterine abnormalities
- Poor maternal nutrition
There are cases in which, although no clear risk factors are identified, prematurity occurs, which is why it is very important to carry out a regular follow-up during the controls in order to reduce the modifiable risks of the same that allow us to reduce the probability of it happening. If it is done, the necessary management will be initiated to reduce the risk of complications for the baby.
LP: Is there a way to prevent a baby from being born prematurely?
AE: The way in which we can be a step ahead of the situation is by evaluating the risk factors for prematurity during medical checkups in pregnancy, where follow-up is made of the exams that are taken to the mother and her ultrasounds, which they allow us to evaluate the development process of the fetus and other situations that can lead to prematurity such as maternal infections, multiple pregnancies, etc.
LP: If the baby is born premature, what are his recommendations?
AE: If a baby is premature, it will depend on the weight and clinical stability that can be taken home. If you have the required weight, are stable, eat well and have no deterioration or clinical commitment, you can go home with the condition of having a follow-up by an out-of-hospital plan called a kangaroo plan.
Under this plan, it will be reviewed regularly by the pediatrician or neonatologist in charge along with a trained team of nurses and other medical specialists, since, although it may be at home, the premature baby is at risk of many clinical complications and its development due to immaturity with which he was born. This close and frequent follow-up must be done until it meets a security and stability weight in order to continue with pediatric controls.
LP What is the average time a premature newborn will be in an incubator?
AE: This is very variable since the premature child is every child under 37 weeks of gestation. The more premature the baby is, the greater the risk of complications due to immaturity, which will require longer hospitalization time. There will be children who will last for months, as there will be others who will be only a few days while their extra-hospital kangaroo plan is achieved. That will depend on the clinical evolution of the newborn.
LP: How to establish contact with the baby while in the incubator?
AE: During the hospitalization, regular visits will be made depending on how determined they are in the unit in which the baby is hospitalized. At the time of the visit, according to the clinical stability of the baby, it will be allowed to take it out and breastfeed it out of the incubator without any problem.
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In this case, premature patients require that the mother or father use a special strip of expandable material so that it can be loaded out of the incubator, which allows a skin-to-skin contact that has benefits in temperature control, strengthening of affective bond and gain of weight in these patients.
In case you can not get it out of the incubator, because it is more delicate health, with the proper hand washing will be allowed to have contact through the incubator windows. You can talk softly and show love to your baby.
LP: After leaving the incubator, what comes for the baby and the parents?
AE: Once the baby is released, the kangaroo follow-up to the premature child will be monitored, regardless of hospitalization, to assess growth and development. Possible complications will also be identified and timely interventions will be made if they arise. At the time of discharge, they will explain to the parents the warning signs by which they should immediately take the baby to the emergency room and the home care recommendations they should have.
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "Todo lo que debes saber de los bebés prematuros"