A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. Premature births have a number of causes. About 4 out of 5 premature births occur due to issues that directly cause early labor and birth. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn mortality. However, advancements in neonatal and premature care have greatly increased the chances for survival even for the smallest of babies.
Preterm babies at Caritas Baby Hospital are cared for with the following medical services that contribute to diminishing the chances for possible future harm:
- Incubators: Premature babies are kept inside an incubator where they remain warm, grow faster and eventually recover.
- Monitoring the vital signs: Premature babies are connected to a device that monitors their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature. Babies suffering from breathing difficulties are also attached to a ventilator.
- The feeding tube: Preterm babies are normally attached to a feeding tube because they are too small to be breastfed. In later stages, the baby is supervised by the pathology and physiotherapy team, who cohesively train the baby to learn how to suck and feed and eventually accept the breast or bottle.
- Replenishing fluids: The neonatal and ICU teams will closely monitor the baby’s fluids, sodium and potassium levels to ensure they maintain normal range. If more fluids are needed, they are supplied intravenously.
- Phototherapy: Babies suffering from jaundice are exposed to bilirubin lights for a certain period of time. This mechanism allows the baby’s body to break down excess bilirubin that could not be processed by the liver.