As premature babies are not physically ready for life outside the womb, they are more prone to several health problems including significant reductions in physical development. But all is not lost because your baby is premature. If you monitor the physical development, many potential problems can be detected early and treated appropriately.
Deliveries between 32 and 37 weeks of pregnancy are termed preterm, whereas a delivery before 32 weeks is classified as very preterm. A baby born well before 37 weeks of gestation (such as 28-30 weeks) needs more care than a baby who is mature and near 37 weeks of gestation (such as 35-36 weeks).
The rate of physical development (weight gain and increase in length) of premature babies may be slower than a full-term infant. But most children eventually catch up with other healthy babies in about 2 years' time. Make a record of important changes such as your baby’s first smile, sitting up alone, and crawling. Sharing this information with the doctor can let you know if the physical development of your premature baby is on track and they also create wonderful memories which you can share with the child later on.
Visiting your Paediatrician
Regular follow up visits to your paediatrician are an important part of care of a premature baby after you leave the hospital. This will help to monitor physical development, and general condition of the baby and any other problem. The doctor will check your baby's weight and general condition and may prescribe supplements (such as vitamin or iron), if required.
Other problems in premature babies
In premature babies, significant developmental problems may occur in a number of areas, including heart and lung function, brain development and functions, breathing, proper maintenance of body temperature, and feeding related problems such as sucking and swallowing. Premature babies can have problems with vision and hearing as well. This can lead to impairment of hearing and visual problems (even complete loss of vision).
Many well-known personalities like Isaac Newton (how early―not known), Winston Churchill (2 months preterm), and Anna Pavlova (2 months preterm) were preterm babies. So if you feel scared or despaired about your preterm’s physical development and other developmental issues this is a great list to keep in mind! Remember that appropriate care and early intervention for any developmental problem can help treat developmental delays.
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