Some babies can’t wait to come out and end up arriving well before their due date. A scary thought for parents, the rough start doesn’t necessarily mean bad news though. Eight percent of all babies in Australia are born premature and most of these miracle babies go on to be healthy and wonderful and we’ve got eight amazing facts to prove just how strong they are.
1. They get an adjusted age
When your little bun pops out of the oven a wee bit early medical staff will amend their age for evaluation purposes. They do this by taking the chronological age and then subtracting the difference between the birth date and due date.
2. Premmies are measured in grams
Thanks to their teeny tiny size, preterm babies are weighed in grams and not pounds, ounces or kilograms.
3. Development matches up
Once you factor in their adjusted age, studies have shown that premature babies reach their motor skill milestones at the same time as full-term babies. Interestingly though, cognitive milestones are quite individual and often end up on par with full term babies even without having to amend their age.
4. Skin-to-skin contact helps
Previously parents of extremely premature babies had to wait until their baby was strong enough and out of the incubator before giving them cuddles. However, a recent study in Melbourne has proven that skin-to-skin contact (also known as Kangaroo care) is not only safe for premmies, but those who receive this touch and bonding grow faster, have less infections and come home sooner. The same has been said for baby massage which has also been known to help premmies thrive.
5. Their size catches up
If you’re worried whether your child will be very small, don’t be! The majority of premature babies catch up in size within the first year of their life. In the rare instance that they don’t, genetics or other factors may end up being the cause.
6. Most twins are premature
If you have twins or multiple babies, they’re more likely to arrive early – a 63% chance in fact! In a lot of cases doctors actually elect to deliver the babies preterm to minimise health risks for the mother and her children.
7. The good signs
If your baby has been tube fed, once they can take milk on their own it’s a great sign they’re getting stronger. Also moving from the incubator to a cot is another sign their strength is increasing as they can now regulate their own body temperature – and it means they are one step closer to being able to come home with you.
8. Famous premmies
Lots of famous people were born premature and went on to do great things, including Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stevie Wonder and Charles Darwin. Many celebrities have also given birth to preterm babies who are now healthy and thriving such as Kim Kardashian’s daughter North, Anna Faris and Chris Pratt’s son Jack, and Julia Roberts’ twins Phinneaus and Hazel. Amazing!
Did you have an amazing premmie baby?