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9 Must-Know Facts About Premature Babies

9 Must-Know Facts About Premature Babies

Premature babies enter the world earlier than full-term infants. This leads to challenges for baby and mom. If you’re expecting or have given birth to a preemie, it’s important to learn about their unique characteristics and special needs.

Top 9 Premature Baby Facts

  1. Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature
    A full-term pregnancy is about 40 weeks. The earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of short-term and long-term health complications.

  2. About 10% of babies are premature
    In 2018, 1 out of every 10 babies in the United States was born prematurely. Black women are more likely to give birth prematurely than women of other races.

  3. The cause of premature birth can be a mystery
    While there are certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely, the cause often can’t be identified. Experts simply don’t know why healthy women without any known health issues sometimes give birth early.

  4. Most preemies are treated in the NICU
    If you give birth prematurely, your little one is likely to be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). They will receive around-the-clock care from healthcare professionals trained to help the tiniest of patients adapt to life outside the womb.

  5. Skin-to-skin contact is beneficial for preemies
    Kangaroo mother care is a method where you hold your baby to your bare chest. The skin-to-skin contact helps your little one relax and breathe more easily. It’s an effective way to stabilize low birth weight newborns and may lead to your baby leaving the NICU sooner. Talk about snuggle power.

  6. Premature babies are more likely to face challenges
    Preemies miss out on important weeks in the womb which can impact their development. They’re at a higher risk of experiencing breathing difficulties, feeding issues, developmental delays and problems with vision and hearing.

  7. Premature birth is the leading cause of death among young children
    The later a premature baby is born, the more likely they are to survive and lead a healthy life. Most babies delivered after the 26-week mark survive and those born after 32 weeks are less likely to have any long-term health issues due to prematurity.

  8. Tiny babies can grow up to do HUGE things
    Premature babies face challenges, but they can go on to do way more than just catch up with their peers. Famous former preemies include Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso, Isaac Newton, and Stevie Wonder.

  9. The right nutrition can support catch up growth
    Breast milk is packed with nutrition pivotal to your baby’s development. If you’re unable to express milk or your little one needs additional nourishment, ask your doctor about supplementing with a formula specifically made for preemies.

Whether your baby arrives early or on time, ensuring they grow up happy and healthy is your top priority as a mother. Even if you’re likely to give birth at full-term, it’s a good idea to know preemie facts and some of the unique challenges that premature babies face.

All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.