I have recently had a spate of photoshoots where the baby was premature. This got me wondering about how common is premature birth so I did some digging.
In the UK, less than 10% of births are premature, and out of them, 2% happen before 32 weeks and about 1% before 28 weeks.
Why does premature birth happen?
The majority happen when labour starts naturally, but a quarter are planned early inductions or caesareans, performed because of complications affecting either the mum or the baby, such as cervical weakness, pre-eclampsia or baby isn’t growing as well as he should.
What should I do if I go into labour early?
It’s always best to be cautious and if you are unsure, call your midwife, doctor or the hospital delivery suite if;
- your waters break
- you start having contractors before you’re 37 weeks
Once you are at the hospital, the doctors and midwife will ensure that you receive the correct course of action for your particular scenario. If your waters haven’t broken, they may try to suppress your contractions long enough for you to complete a course of steroids to help your baby.
If your baby is born early, you may only have a brief glimpse of him before he is whisked away. This can be frightening and you’ll need lots of support. Once your baby is stable, you will be able to see him as often as you’d like.
Whatever your situation, your baby needs the special comfort that you and his dad can give him just as much as he needs medical help.
Breastfeeding is important for all babies but perhaps more so for premature babies. Breastfeeding provides additional protection against infection. Premature babies often need a small feeding tube from their nose to their tummy. Milk can then be passed down the tube after expressing.
Below are a few photos from the brave tiny newborns that I have had the pleasure of meeting recently.
Beautiful Olivia who weighed only 904gm at birth
Gorgeous Nuru was born an amazing 16 weeks early!
Stunning Scarlette weighed 3lb 6oz