Premature birth is considered to be when babies are born more than three weeks before the estimated due date, or before the start of week 37th of pregnancy.
Premature babies can have complicated medical problems, and the earlier that the baby is born, the higher the risk of complications. Thanks to modern medicine, the likelihood of survival for premature babies has increased tremendously in the last decades.
When can babies be born and survive?
Baby’s can be born as early as week 24 and survive. However, the likelihood of survival increases with every week and even every day. Studies have shown that 20-35 % of babies born in week 24 do survive, but that number increases to 50-70 per cent for babies born in week 25 and over 90 % for babies that are born at week 26 to 27. Health care professionals often use the following terms to describe when premature babies are born:
- Extremely preterm: The baby is born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy
- Very preterm: The baby is born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
- Moderately preterm: The baby is born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
- Late preterm: The baby is born between 34 and 36 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Kangaroo Mother Care
Premature babies often have more complications than full-term babies, such as low body temperature – due to lack of stored body fat, laboured breathing or respiratory distress and lack of reflexes for sucking and swallowing, which can lead to feeding difficulties.
Kangaroo mother care is a method that is commonly used for preterm babies. A technique that involves skin-to-skin care where premature babies are kept chest to chest with a parent. Kangaroo mother care has proven to be effective in regulating body temperature and increasing the possibility of breastfeeding and weight gain. Furthermore, it has shown to reduce mortality, severe illness, infection and length of hospital stay.
If you have a premature baby, you should discuss with your healthcare professional and neonatal department that can recommend the best way of providing your baby with Kangaroo mother care.
The Najell WRAP is already used by neonatal departments around Sweden, as it is an easy way to carry a premature baby and provide it with the closeness that a premature baby needs. A fully covered back of the Najell WRAP makes it easy to carry skin to skin without showing a naked back.