Wear the Gown: What Parents Should Know When Having a Premature Baby
Here in Texas, the premature birth rate is higher than the U.S. average with 1 in 9 infants born prematurely.
Monica Garza-Vickery is a registered nurse at the University Hospital newborn transitional care nursery. She explains what parents should know if they are told that they might deliver a premature baby.
Premature birth is defined as birth happening before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are four categories of premature birth:
Premature births can happen for a variety of reasons, like “various untreated infection(s) or dehydration, previous pre-term deliveries … (if mom is) older than 35 or smokes during pregnancy,” Garza-Vickery said.
Other risk factors that may cause a woman to give birth too early are:
According to the CDC, as of 2021, 1 in 10 infants in the U.S. are born prematurely.
The rate of preterm births varies by race and ethnicity:
Premature babies may have extra medical needs, including:
There are ways to reduce the risk for giving birth early, however. Getting good, consistent prenatal care starting as soon as you find out that you are pregnant is important to ensure your and your baby’s health. The earlier you start prenatal care, the better.
Other ways to reduce your risk are:
Learn more about the highest quality care for premature babies at University Health in San Antonio.