Although most women are ready for the long pregnancy to be over in the end, the thought of delivering before 37 weeks is terrifying for many soon to be parents. The March of Dimes says that every year approximately 380, 000 babies in America will be born prematurely and face the related complications. That’s 1 in 10 babies in the US and for some ethnic and socioeconomic groups that rate is much higher. Although each preemie’s journey is unique, we at Stork and Cradle wanted to share some important information about preterm babies.
1. When is a Baby Considered Premature?
A baby who is born before 37 weeks gestation is considered to be premature. This doesn’t mean that the baby will need intensive care or an extended stay in the hospital. There are also Micro Preemies. Micro Preemies are babies born under 1 pound 12 ounces and before 26 weeks.
2. Many Preemies have to spend time in the NICU. What exactly is a NICU?
A NICU is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and although many preemies go to the NICU so that specially trained nurses and doctors can care for their needs, some preemies never have to go.
There are different levels of care and nurseries available at hospitals and not all hospitals have all levels so make sure you check to know what type of nursery care your hospital has just in case your baby has to be transferred to receive the best care.
Level 1: Well Newborn Nursery- provides care to healthy infants, can care for stabilized infants born at 35–37 weeks.
Level 2: Special Care Nursery- Can care for moderately ill babies born at 32 weeks or older.
Level 3: NICU- Can give sustained life support, provide a full range of pediatrics, surgical repair, and care for all gestational ages.
Level 4: Regional NICU- Provides even more specialized care than all of the other levels.
3. Preemie Parents Talk About Their Infant’s Corrected Age or Adjusted Age. What is this?
When parents talk about the corrected age or adjusted age of their premature baby, they are talking about their baby’s developmental age. Here’s how corrected age is calculated: Take the actual age of the premature baby in weeks and then subtract that number by the number of weeks your baby was preterm. This will equal your baby’s corrected age. Here’s an example.
Baby born 10 weeks ago- 6 weeks preterm = 4 weeks Corrected Age
4. What are the Complications That Can Arise With Preemies
Many different complications can occur with premature babies. Here are a few:
-long-term health problems
5. Where Can I Find Support
Here are a few Facebook groups where you can ask questions, form a community, and feel supported by other preemie parents.
We at Stork and Cradle salute the strong parents of preemies, we salute the preemies who are miraculous fighters, and we salute the doctors, scientists, and nurses who care for them and are making breakthroughs. If you have any questions for us, please leave it in the comments.