What is Prematurity? Prematurity

Prematurity refers to the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks of gestation. Premature children are at a heightened risk for both short- and long-term complications that can include developmental delays in all areas of growth. Much progress has been made in the care of premature infants; however, the prevalence of pre-term birth has not decreased.

How do I know if I may be going into premature labor, and what are some symptoms of premature birth?

Signs and symptoms of a premature birth are: vaginal bleeding in the third trimester, heavy pressure on the pelvis, or abdominal and back pain in the expectant mother. Once a premature baby is born, its organs may not be fully developed. Some common symptoms in a premature infant include: low birth weight, lung problems, poor feeding, and thin, shiny, transparent skin. Premature babies also may have a weak cry and are usually inactive with low muscle tone.

Are premature babies at greater risk for certain abnormalities?

Premature babies are at risk for a number of medical problems including neurological and respiratory problems, cardiovascular and hematologic complications, and gastrointestinal and metabolic issues. These can often be recognized shortly after birth, but may not appear until later in the child’s development.

How do I help treat my premature baby?

It is imperative that premature babies immediately begin therapy. In order for the baby to achieve developmental success and reach his or her motor milestones, it is recommended that he or she receive plenty of ‘tummy time’ along with plenty of flexibility and strengthening exercises. A premature infant will often lack physiological flexion and will function as a ‘floppy baby’ with a muscle imbalance. It is important to use therapy services to even-out these muscle imbalances, so that they do not interfere with head control, sitting balance, reaching skills, and bilateral coordination.

Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

We use a multi-disciplinary approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy to meet your child’s needs. Our experienced team of speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists will use standardized testing during the evaluation to set individualized goals and a plan of care for your child’s therapy program. We will also create a home exercise routine to carry-over your child’s development at home.

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