Preterm babies are often referred to as premature babies, who are born before the 36th week of pregnancy. These babies would also have a lower birth weight than full-term babies.
If a mother goes into labor too early, doctors would try to delay the birth. For the baby, it is possible to live if he/she is born after 24 weeks. Often these tiny babies need advanced medical care for the first few weeks of life and may have long-term medical issues. There are several reasons why mothers may go into labor
If the baby is born before 37 weeks, some problems with feeding, temperature and breathing could occur. These babies have a very thin layer of fat under their skin. For this reason, they cannot warm themselves and may develop hypothermia if not treated properly. They also might not be able to be breastfed and need to be fed by a tube.
These babies would be taken to special care unit, often called a NICU, to be placed into a warm incubator right after birth. An incubator is a special bed for the baby in which the heat and the humidity could be controlled. A clean atmosphere would be provided to prevent the baby from getting any infection. The incubator would also have portholes that allow the babies to be fed.
Low birth-weight or premature babies are hospitalized until they become able to be fed and maintain their temperature. It is also very important hat parents know how to take care of their baby. In their first year, premature babies typically catch up on the development stages as normal birth weight babies.