What may happen if your baby is born this week
If you have any questions about your pregnancy or risk of premature birth please talk to your doctor or midwife.
You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]
If your baby was born this week, they would be classed as very preterm (rather than extremely preterm). If your baby is born now, the medical conditions associated with severe prematurity become less serious. But they will still need specialist care in the neonatal baby unit.
It is less likely that babies born now will have severe breathing problems requiring intubation (where a breathing tube passed through their mouth or nose and into their lungs) in the delivery room.
Some babies may not need a ventilator but will still need help with their breathing. Instead, they will have small prongs put into their nostrils or have a mask put over their nose connected to a machine (called ‘CPAP’) that provides air or oxygen with pressure to make the effort of breathing easier for them. Your baby may be given some medicine into their lungs, called surfactant, to help with their breathing. Find out more about breathing support for premature babies.
The healthcare team will recommend caffeine treatment to help reduce or treat apnoea. Apnoea is a common condition where a baby may pause their breathing for a variable amount of time.
Babies born at this stage are at risk of hypothermia (an abnormally low body temperature). When they are born, they will be placed into a clear plastic bag up to their neck to help keep them warm and protect their fragile skin. On the neonatal unit, they will be placed in an incubator that is humidified to keep them warm.
They will need a thin tube passed through their nose or mouth into their tummy that milk can be given through. They will also need fluids or nutrition (a ‘drip’) through a thin tube into a vein (intravenous or IV line). This will often be into one of the veins in their umbilical cord. Find out more about feeding your premature baby in hospital.
Babies born now may have low blood pressure so the healthcare team may also need to raise your baby’s blood pressure with extra fluids or medicines. Your baby will also be tested and may be treated for infection.
Your healthcare team will monitor your premature baby closely to make sure they receive the best possible care.