According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a baby is considered premature when they are born before completing the 37th week of pregnancy. The classification of the baby’s prematurity according to the time of pregnancy, can be:

The more premature the baby is born, the greater the health risk is exposed, as their organs and systems are not yet fully developed. However, it is possible for the preemie baby to have normal development and good quality of life when they receive proper and special care, extra dedication, and attentiveness from the parents and caregivers, and also, the great collaboration of the continuous advancement of medicine.  

Premature babies have some characteristics in common, such as:

In addition to having difficulty and not being able to maintain the ideal body temperature, premature babies may suffer other complications, such as breathing problems, some difficulties in feeding due to reflexes, and swallowing inappropriately. In more severe cases, they may suffer from retinopathy, one of the main causes of blindness in childhood, also mainly caused by prematurity. Depending on the degree of prematurity of each baby, it can also potentially cause neurological problems and autism.

What type of care does the premature baby need?

Most babies who are born very prematurely are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), due to the devices that allow precise monitoring of their condition. And, also, during this hospitalization, they go through some procedures such as: 

I know that parents are very concerned about seeing their baby in a Neonatal ICU and the desire to be with them, safe at home is grand, but the NICY is the place where the new baby will receive all the necessary care, being accompanied and constantly monitored by a multidisciplinary team. To get an idea, a few of the professionals who will assist them include the following:

In addition to each baby being individually evaluated to take the necessary care, some tests can be done to help the diagnosis, such as:

We can see how important it is for the baby to be in the NICU for all the monitoring that they will receive and how important this phase is even for the parents to know and learn what type of care they will need to carry on in the future. As I know how difficult it is to stay away from your little one and not know much about what is happening, I have separated a few questions that can be asked while the baby is in the NICU:

For the baby to be discharged, they must first:

After hospital discharge 

When being discharged and ready to go home, it is necessary for parents to be aware of and be advised of all the necessary care that the baby will need, especially in the first months. Generally, the medical team that took care of the baby will guide parents on how to proceed. It is important to clear all your doubts at that moment, to understand in what situations and/or what the symptoms mean danger and it is necessary to have prompt medical monitoring.