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I Can't Bring My Baby Home Yet: Handling A Premature Birth
With premature births reported to be growing, it’s best to be prepared when it does happen. Here are some things you need to know about a preemie baby.
Holding their baby in their arms after giving birth is every mother's joy. But if you're a mom of a preemie, you'd have to wait until your baby is strong enough for a good cuddling.
Why you have to be separated from your preemie
Your premature baby requires immediate medical attention so he needs to be kept in a hospital's neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring. John Ong, M.D., pediatric intensivist, shares the following reasons for isolating a premature baby:
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- Lungs - Being premature, organs are also underdeveloped. One of the organs that is very vital is the lungs. If the lungs lack surfactant, a component for expansion, sometimes they need to be given oxygen and sometimes they need to be hooked to the ventilator until their lungs mature.
- Body Temperature - Regulating body temperature and feeding are things your preemie may also not be capable of doing on his own. They lack subcutaneous fats needed for thermo-regulation.To prevent hypothermia, they need to be placed in the incubator.
- Intestines - Sometimes premature babies are not allowed to be given full feeding because their digestive system is premature, they need to be fed gradually to prevent perforation of the intestines.
Knowing is half the battle
Parent counseling is important, says Dr. Ong. Get daily updates from your doctor who can help you understand your baby's situation. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Your peace of mind is the best anchor which will support you and your baby through this time.
Visit your baby
Undoubtedly, dealing with the fact of having a premature baby can be more difficult when it is time to go back home, leaving your baby where other infants have already come and gone. But an enclosed apparatus need not get in the way of you and your baby spending time together. “A mom can visit her baby even inside the incubator every day. She should also be allowed to touch her baby. Touch therapy is very important. According to Dr. Ong, studies have shown that touch therapy by a mother results in the following:
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- early recovery from sickness
- increase in infant growth
- improved maternal infant bonding
Seeing your baby grow stronger day by day makes you look forward to the moment when you can finally bring him home.
- John Ong,MD, DPPS, FSCCMP,FSPCCMP; pediatric intensivist; UST Hospital, Espana, Manila
Photo from wikimedia commons
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