Education for Preemie Mothers.

Robert Morris University

Premature Infants

●In Uganda there are around 226,000 births that occur earlier than expected every year
●85% of preterm births happen between 32 and 37 weeks gestation
●Some reasons some women are at risk for their babies coming early  are:
○High blood pressure
○Low iron (anemia)
○Short intervals between babies
●These infants do not usually require special care for survival, but there may be some babies that do.


Full Term versus Preemie

Full Term
●The baby has been in the womb for 37
 weeks or more
●The baby is born before 37 weeks gestation
●A baby may not be as developed if they are born before 37 weeks, so skin to skin contact is encouraged
●Baby may have more Lanugo (body hair) if they are premature – NORMAL
●Smaller in size
●Have less body fat
●Thinner skin
●May not nurse or suck as well when eating
●Often needs help to keep warm

What to Expect

●These babies can get sick more often than full-term babies, so handwashing is very important for safety

●These babies become tired much faster, it is normal for them to take more naps

●Some smaller babies may need special equipment for care

●The baby is small at birth and it will take some time to catch up to their peers

●Long term survival and thriving is possible

Taking Your Preemie Home

●Breastfeeding is best when possible

●If feeding with formula that needs mixing, boil the water and let cool so that harmful germs are killed, making it safe for the baby

●Skin to skin care is where a wrap is used to keep baby on mom’s chest and can help keep the baby warm and stable

●The safest sleeping position for baby is on their back with no objects near them

Warning Signs to look for

For all babies

○The baby’s lips turn blue

○Trouble breathing

○Trouble waking the baby


○Not eating

○No weight gain

Warning Signs If Baby has a Feeding Tube

Some preemies need to go home with a feeding tube.

These are not needed forever

Baby needs medical help if

  • If the tube comes out
  • Baby turns blue or changes color
  • Coughs or chokes during feeding

Skin to Skin

  • Baby should be cleaned off after birth, then placed on the mother’s bare chest
  • As much as possible after birth carry or hold your baby in front of you (not on your back)  and between your breasts to:
    • Promote warmth
    • Create a bond between the mother and baby
  • Can help stabilize the baby’s and mother’s
    • Heart rate
    • Breathing
    • Temperature
  • Helps lower mothers stress and hormones

Preventing Infection

  • Newborns are at an increased risk of developing infections because of their immature immune systems
  • Ways to prevent infection:
    • Wash hands before touching a preemie
    • Ask others to wash their hands before touching a preemie
    • If others are sick, ask them to to wait before visiting
    • Keep babies environment as clean as possible

Breastfeeding Mothers

  • Preemies need food to survive
  • Breast milk is important for preemies
    • More nutrients for baby
  • Preemies have trouble feeding because they have a poor sucking reflex and tire more easily
  • May need more and shorter feeding sessions
  • Ways to know the baby is feeding correctly
    • Latch on
    • Audible Swallowing
    • Type of nipple
    • Comfort
    • Holding = the position used by the mother