Premature Infant: Cause, Treatment, And Health Problem In Pregnancy

The birth of a child before the 36th week of pregnancy is called premature or preterm birth. A normal pregnancy is around 40 weeks.

The last weeks of your pregnancy are crucial for the baby’s weight gain and full development of many essential organs, including the brain and lungs.

I had earlier shared When to Deliver IUGR Baby?. I hope you read the post.

For this reason, the premature baby has more health problems and has to stay in the hospital for a long time.

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Table of Contents

Causes of a premature infant

The reason for premature birth is not yet known, but there are some reasons why the labor pain starts early in the woman.

To get started, you’ll need to: Pregnancy with Heart Disease: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Pregnant lady must read this post for healthy pregnancy: A Healthy Diet Plan During Pregnancy

Some other causes of premature infants:

Read: Do And Don’t For Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know

I had earlier shared Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Risk To Baby, Causes, Treatment I hope you read the post.

Premature infant complication

The earlier the infant is born, the more medical problems will come. The following symptoms will appear shortly after the birth of a Premature Infant.

I also wrote a tutorial on Multiple pregnancies: Symptoms ,Causes, and Treatment that you can follow.

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Low body fat
  • Low weight
  • Being less active
  • yellowing of the skin of the body
  • difficulty in drinking milk

Must read: What Is Neural Tube Defect?

Some deadly diseases are also associated with the cause of Paramature Infant,

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Pneumonia
  • Anemia
  • Brain hemorrhage and bleeding in the brain

Also see this post: Severe Anemia In Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Giving proper treatment to the baby can cure it; otherwise, it can be replaced by disability and disease.

To learn more, you can read Jaundice In Newborn Child: Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment

Characteristics of preterm neonates

Physical characteristics

A preterm baby is small in size with a relatively large head. Crown-heel length is less than 47 cm, and head circumference is less than 33 cm but exceeds the chest circumference more than 3cm.

I recommend you to read following posts that will help you: What Is Teenage Pregnancy?

General 

  • The Baby’s activity is low with sluggish or incomplete neonatal reflexes such as more, sucking, and swallowing.
  • Limbs are extended due to hypotonia with low recoil of the flexed forearm when it was open.
  • Breast nodules are absent or less than 5mm. 
  • Nipples and areola are flat. The abdomen is full, soft, and round with prominent veins.
  • Genitalia: 
  • In male babies, the testes scrotum is poorly pigment with minor corrugation.
  • In female babies, Labia minora is exposing due to poorly developed and widely separated labia majora. Clitoris is hypertrophied and prominent.

Read: How long After Missed Period Take Pregnancy Test ?

Physiological handicapped

Various clinical hazard hazards are founding in preterm neonates due to different systems’ functional immaturity.

Alteration of respiratory function

  • Respiration of preterm neonates is rapid, shallow, irregular with apnea and cyanosis. 
  • Cough and gag reflexes are weak or absent. Pulmonary aspiration and atelectasis are common problems. 
  • Weak respiratory muscle, low development and expansion of lungs, insufficient respiratory centredeficientcy of surfactant in the alveoli are responsible for respiratory problems.

You must read this article: What Is Folic Acid Used For?: What We Need To Know

Immaturity of the central nervous system

  • The preterm infants are inactive, lazy, and having poor cough reflexes. Sucking and swallowing reflexes are incardinated, leading to feeding difficulties. 
  • Oxygen toxicity causing retinopathy of prematurity(ROP) and retrolental fibroplasia is fixings in newborn babies.
  • These babies are prone to kernicterus and brain damage at lower serum bilirubin levels due to insufficient blood-brain barrier.

I also wrote an article on What Vitamins And Minerals Are Good For the Brain? also you can read.

Disturbances of circulatory function

  •  In preterm neonates, May delay the closure of ductus arteriosus
  • The peripheral circulation is inadequate. may develop Thromboembolic complications
  • And intracranial hemorrhage .may occurs due to poor autoregulation of cerebral blood flow.
  • Weak and fragile blood vessels and hypofunction of bone marrow may result in hemorrhagic problems.

Impaired thermoregulation

  • The preterm babies are more prone to developed hypothermia due to poorly developed heat-regulating centers, large body surface area about body weight, low insulating subcutaneous fat, and less brown adipose tissue. This Baby’s heat production is less, whereas more heat loss occurs due to poor control over thermoregulation and various environmental factors.

Drug toxicity

  • Poor hepatic detoxification and reduced renal clearance lead to drugs’ toxic effects unless precautions follow during administration.
  • Oxygen toxicity may lead to prematurity eye disease due to a higher concentration of oxygen which constricts the retinal arteries resulting in anoxic damage and retinal detachment.

Treatment for a premature infant

Prevention of preterm birth is essential by early detection and management of high-risk antenatal mothers. Preterm labor should be managed efficiently by appropriate referral to well-equipped obstetrical and neonatal care facilities to manage preterm babies better.

The doctor gives some medicines to the pregnant women to make the delivery on time. If there is still premature labor, the doctor needs to keep the mother in the NICU, i.e., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

In the first few days, attention is paid to the development of the baby’s vital organs, such as keeping an eye on the baby’s heartbeat and breathing rate.

The child is released from the hospital only when

Care of preterm babies at birth

Efficient resuscitation and prevention of hypothermia are essential aspects of care at birth.

Delayed cord clamping may improve the iron stores and reduce the incidence of hyaline membrane disease. Should do it, according to the Baby’s condition. 

Continuous breathing support may be necessary. 

The neonatal intensive care unit

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) should provide an intrauterine environment for the preterm neonates. 

The NICU should be warm, free from excessive sound, and have smoothing light. Aseptic measures and effective hand washing should ensure protection from infections. 

Rough handling and painful procedure s should avoid. The Baby should place on a soft-comfortable, ‘nestled’ and cushioned bed.

The Baby’s clinical status aspect of management depends on the gestational age of the Baby.

Prone posture makes the neonates comfortable, less cry, and reduced the chance of aspiration. This position relieves abdominal discomfort, improves ventilation, and enhances arterial oxygenation. 

Unsupervised prone position may cause instant infant death syndrome(SIDS).

Maintenance of breathing

Respiratory distress is the most common problem in a preterm baby. The Baby’s neck should be extended slightly for proper breathing and to prevent any aspiration of feed.

Oxygen therapy should administer only when indicated. Headbox to use for oxygen therapy. The concentration of oxygen to be maintained to have SPO2 

Between 90 to 92 percent and PaO2 between 60 to 80mm Hg. Baby’s respiration rate, rhythm, signs of distress, chest retraction, nasal flaring, apnea, cyanosis, oxygen saturation, etc., to be monitored at frequent intervals. Tactile stimulation by sole flicking can provide to stimulate respiratory effort.

Also see: Cyanotic Breath Holding Spells Infant | Pallid Breath Holding Spells

Family support discharge planning, follow-up, and home care

Babies condition and progress should be explained to the parents to reduce anxiety. A treatment plan to be discussed. Should inform Parents about the care of the Baby after discharge at home. The need for warmth, breastfeeding, general cleanliness, infection prevention measures, environmental hygiene, follow-up plan, immunization, etc., should be explained.

Can Most healthy infants with a birth of 1800g or more and gestational maturity of 35 weeks can at home. 

Mothers should be mentally prepared and trained to provide essential care to the preterm Baby at home.

At the time of release, the Baby should have daily steady weight gain with good vigor and suck and maintain warmth. The community nurse should visit the family every week or for a month and provide necessary guidance and support.

Conclusion

Improved medical and nursing techniques have significantly increased the survival of premature babies.

Preterm infants have medical, developmental, or behavioral problems that continue into childhood.

Meanwhile, let me know if you have any feedback for me or for Star Healthline?

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