Charities such as Bliss will also be able to offer you support and advice, never be afraid to ask for help. Lovr all the patterns. Low blood pressure hypotension is a relatively common complication. I knew I had to repay that someday.
Getting help and advice
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Healthy Lifestyle Infant and toddler health. Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Understand your preemie's special needs If you have a premature baby, understand the challenges your preemie might face — and remember the importance of meeting your own needs.
By Mayo Clinic Staff. References McInerny TK, et al. Discharge planning for the high-risk newborn requiring intensive care. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; What Every Parent Needs to Know. Labor, delivery, and postpartum care FAQ American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Shelov SP, et al. Birth and the first moments after. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. Preterm premature labor and birth. Schanler RJ, et al. Nutritional composition of human milk and preterm formula for the premature infant. Long-term complications of the premature infant. Short-term complications of the premature infant. See also Bathing your newborn Baby poop: Baby sling Baby sunscreen Baby's head shape: Breast-feeding and medications Signs of successful breast-feeding Breast-feeding nutrition: Tips for moms Breast-feeding support Breast-feeding twins Breast-feeding vs.
Pumping tips Breast-feeding beyond infancy Breast-feeding tips Vaginal seeding Crying baby Newborn feeding basics Induced lactation Infant development: Birth to 3 months Low milk supply New dad tips Sleep tips for new parents Introducing a new sibling Newborn care: Do's and don'ts for parents Uncircumcised penis: Is special care needed? TPN is given through a small tube inserted into a large vein through the baby's skin or umbilical stump.
Premature infants are at risk for a number of problems , mostly because their internal organs aren't completely ready to work on their own. In general, the more premature the infant, the greater the chances of complications. Many preemies don't have enough red blood cells RBCs to carry adequate oxygen to the body. This complication, called anemia , is easily diagnosed through lab tests.
Preemies may develop anemia for a number of reasons. In the first few weeks of life, infants don't make many new RBCs. Also, a baby's red blood cells have a shorter life than an adult's. And the frequent blood samples that must be taken for testing make it hard for RBCs to replenish. Some premature infants, especially very small ones, need red blood cell transfusions. Apnea is a common health problem among premature babies.
During an apnea spell, a baby stops breathing; the heart rate may decrease; and the skin may turn pale or blue. Apnea is usually caused by immaturity in the area of the brain that controls the drive to breathe. Almost all babies born at 30 weeks or less will have apnea. Apnea spells become less frequent with age. In the NICU, all premature babies are monitored for apnea spells. Treatment can be as simple as gently stimulating the infant to restart breathing.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia BPD , or chronic lung disease, is a common lung problem among preemies, especially those weighing less than 1, grams 2. Preemies are often treated with medicine and oxygen for BPD. Their lungs usually improve over the first 2 years of life, but many of them continue to have asthma-like symptoms.
Babies with hyperbilirubinemia have high levels of bilirubin , which is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. This high bilirubin level leads to jaundice , a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Extremely high levels of bilirubin can cause brain damage, so premature infants are monitored for jaundice and treated quickly, before bilirubin reaches dangerous levels. Jaundiced infants are placed under special blue lights that help the body eliminate bilirubin. Rarely, blood exchange transfusions are used to treat severe jaundice.
Infection is a big threat to preemies because they're less able than full-term infants to fight germs that can cause serious illness.
Some infections can come from the mother before, during, or after birth. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Other medicines are prescribed to treat viral and fungal infections. Frequent hand washing is a rule in the NICU to help prevent infection. Low blood pressure hypotension is a relatively common complication. It can be due to infection, blood loss, fluid loss, or medicines given to the mother before delivery. It's treated with increased fluid intake or medicines.
Infants who have low blood pressure due to blood loss may need a blood transfusion. Necrotizing enterocolitis NEC is the most common and serious intestinal disease among preemies. It happens when tissue in the small or large intestine is injured or begins to die off. This causes the intestine to become inflamed or, in rare cases, develop a hole.
When this happens, the intestine can no longer hold waste, so bacteria and other waste products pass into a baby's bloodstream or abdominal cavity. This can make a baby very sick, possibly causing a life-threatening infection. NEC typically affects babies born before 32 weeks gestation, but can happen in full-term infants who have health problems, like a heart defect.
Babies with NEC usually develop it within the first 2 to 4 weeks of life. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove a diseased portion of the intestines. The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that is an essential part of fetal blood circulation, allowing blood to bypass the lungs, because oxygen for the blood comes from the mother and not from breathing air. In full-term babies, the ductus arteriosus closes shortly after birth, but often stays open in premature babies.
When this happens, excess blood flows into the lungs and can cause breathing problems and sometimes heart failure. If medical therapy fails, surgery may be required to clamp the ductus. Many preemies have breathing problems. In RDS, the baby's immature lungs don't make enough of an important substance called surfactant.
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