Premature babies: possible developmental issues
A premature or preterm baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. Generally, the earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of complications.
At first, your premature baby might have little body fat and need help maintaining body heat. He or she might cry only softly and have trouble breathing. Feeding your preemie might be a challenge. Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), low blood sugar, and lack of red blood cells to carry oxygen to your baby's tissues (anemia) are possible. More-serious concerns might include infection, episodes of stopped breathing (apnea) and bleeding into the brain. Some preemies have impaired hearing or vision. Others experience developmental delays, learning disabilities, motor deficits, or behavioral, psychological or chronic health problems. Many, however, catch up and experience normal healthy development.
It is recommended to breastfeed your premature baby. Breast milk contains proteins that help fight infection and promote growth. Although your preemie might not be able to feed from your breast or a bottle at first, breast milk can be given in other ways — or frozen for later use. Begin pumping as soon after birth as possible. Pump at least six to eight times a day, round-the-clock.
Before you leave the hospital, consider taking a course in infant CPR. Make sure you're comfortable caring for your baby, especially if you'll need to use special monitors at home or give your baby supplemental oxygen or other treatments.