Consequences of premature births and how to manage them

Parents can help ensure the best outcomes for their babies by being aware of the potential complications.

A premature delivery occurs when the baby is born before the 37th gestation week.

The womb provides a safe and healthy environment for an underdeveloped child to grow into a healthy baby.

A premature delivery occurs when the baby is born before the 37th gestation week.

It could mean just a few days longer in the hospital or a long life of consequences.

It’s common for preterm babies to be slightly behind their peers in meeting developmental milestones, such as crawling, walking and talking, but most of them will catch up within the first couple of years.

Some of the problems the babies may have are:

Unfortunately, there is now way to prevent premature labor once it has started. Once it has begun, it's difficult to prevent the birth from happening. Still, there are a few things the doctor can do to ensure safer delivery of the baby.

Intravenous fluids: these get you hydrate and lower the chances of continued contractions.

Antibiotics: Especially if the doctors believe that an infection may have triggered labor.

Tocolytic agents: These are meds that relax the uterus and temporarily stop contractions. They are usually dispensed if your pregnancy is below 34 weeks and your baby's lungs deemed immature for delivery.

Corticosteroids are to help speed up fetal lung maturity. Doctors

Doctors have long advised that women between 24 and 34 weeks pregnant who are expected to go into imminent preterm labor have corticosteroids administered.

There is no way to predict individual outcomes. No doctor has a crystal ball to predict whether a premature baby will grow up healthy. But parents can help ensure the best outcomes for their multiples by being aware of the potential complications and partnering with their children's medical caregivers to monitor their development and obtain support when needed.

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