Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising. Preterm birth complications are the leading explanation for death among children under five years aged , liable for approximately a million deaths in 2015.
Preterm birth in layman terms is employed for babies born before 37 weeks of gestation is completed or fewer than 259 days since the primary day of a woman’s last menstrual period. Premature babies are naturally smaller than full-term babies and lots of weigh but two pounds. Preterm birth may be a major explanation for death and a big explanation for long-term loss of human potential among survivors all round the world.
There are sub-categories of preterm birth, supported gestational age:
- Extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks)
- Very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)
- Moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks)
A special category of preterm babies is termed Extreme Preterm Babies (EPB), because they’re so immature that bacteria within the “air” can cause infection. Premature babies don’t get immunoglobulins from their mothers and are therefore susceptible to infection. it’s important that such babies are taken care of during the primary fortnight to a month of their birth.
Reasons for admission of an infant in an NICU
- Prematurity (24 weeks gestation or more)
- Intrauterine growth retardation/small for fetal age
- Low blood glucose
- Respiratory (breathing) problems
- Temperature instability
- Assistance with feeding
Why do premature newborns need special care?
Premature babies are little bodies that have underdeveloped parts, which include the lungs, gastrointestinal system, system, and skin. The advancements in medical technology have made it possible for preemies to survive the primary few days, weeks, or months of life until they’re strong enough to form it on their own. Hospitals have equipped themselves with Neonatal medical care Units (NICU) where infants are cared for in incubators or “open warmers”. Some low birth weight infants need respiratory support starting from extra oxygen (by a head hood or nasal cannula) to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mechanical ventilation. Public access is restricted, and staff and visitors are required to require precautions to scale back the transmission of infection.
When babies are born but 32 weeks, they have to be cared for “almost like they’re within the womb” in order that they grow “as expected” and for this, we’d like an “artificial womb”, which is nothing but an incubator. But babies quite 32 weeks probably can had best without the necessity of an incubator in an open care system.
Incubators are self-contained units roughly the dimensions of a crib equipped with a plastic dome. Because premature babies lack body fat, they’re less ready to regulate blood heat. to the present end, the incubator ensures the perfect environmental conditions by either allowing the temperature to be adjusted manually or providing auto-adjustments supported changes within the baby’s temperature. An incubator also protects premature babies from infection, allergens, or excessive noise or light levels that will cause harm. It can regulate air humidity to take care of the integrity of the skin (which is extremely important for very preterm babies) and even be equipped with special lights to treat neonatal jaundice which is common in these babies.
Types of incubators during a NICU
- Closed box incubators have a fresh air filtration system that minimizes the danger of infection and stops the loss of moisture from the air.
- Double-walled incubators have two walls which will further prevent heat and air moisture loss.
- Servo-control incubators are automatically programmed to regulate temperature and humidity levels supported by skin sensors attached to the baby.
- Open-box incubators, also referred to as Armstrong incubators, provide radiant heat below the baby but are otherwise hospitable to the air, allowing quick access.
- Portable incubators also referred to as transport incubators, are wont to move the newborn from one part of the hospital to a different or from one hospital to a different one.
At the Neonatal medical care Unit, through incubators, specialized medical, surgical, and cardiology care is given to newborn babies. it’s well-equipped with a protective environment that is home for a limited period of your time with a caring staff, monitoring and alarm systems, respiratory and resuscitation equipment, access to physicians in every pediatric specialty, 24-hour laboratory service.
Premature babies often have breathing problems because their lungs aren’t fully developed. Full-term babies can also develop breathing problems thanks to complications of labor and delivery, birth defects and infections.
For extreme preterm infants, regardless of how disheartening it’s going to sound, the incubator provides the simplest opportunity to grow into the healthy, happy baby we’ve always dreamed of. a far better technology for better survival.