Premature baby: Symptoms and treatment


A baby is known as a premature baby when it is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Such babies might have more health issues and require more medical attention than full-term babies. However, premature babies are more likely to survive now due to advances in medical care.

Inform your baby's doctor about any medical conditions they may have. They might require special attention in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or be healthy enough to go home a few days after birth.

Symptoms of a premature baby

Premature baby symptoms commonly include:

  • Unusual breathing patterns
  • Lanugo (body hair)
  • Expanded clitoris (in female babies)
  • Less birth weight
  • Less activity and lower muscle tone than full-term babies
  • Feeding issues due to difficulty in breathing
  • Smooth and small scrotum with undescended testicles and no ridges (in male babies)
  • Flexible and soft ear cartilage
  • Shiny, thin, smooth, and frequently transparent skin (visible veins under the skin)

When to see a doctor?

A premature baby requires regular health check-ups. Therefore, after going home from the hospital, visit your doctor regularly.

Possible complications

  • Blindness or poor eyesight
  • Hearing issues
  • Physical disorder
  • Learning difficulties
  • Slow growth and poor coordination

Treatments for a premature baby

If there is a likelihood of premature baby delivery, the mother should be taken to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This ensures that the newborn receives special care after birth.

The premature baby's organs do not fully develop and require special attention in a nursery until the organs develop sufficiently to keep them alive without medical help. This could take weeks or even months.

A premature baby generally cannot coordinate swallowing and sucking. Doctors insert a soft, small feeding tube into a newborn's stomach through the mouth or nose. They feed nutrition to very premature or ill babies through a vein. The doctors continue this process until the child is stable enough to receive all nutrients through their mouth.

Some methods doctors use to deliver oxygen to the baby are as follows:

  • ventilator (a machine that helps pump air through the lungs).
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), is a remedy that uses low-pressure air to keep the airways open.
  • An oxygen hood (a machine placed over the newborn's head to provide oxygen).


A premature baby requires special nursery care until it can eat with its mouth, breathe without assistance, and maintain its body weight and temperature. Premature newborns might have additional issues that complicate treatment and necessitate more days in the hospital.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Jayanagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Can an eight-month-old premature baby survive?

A premature baby born between 34 and 36 weeks has almost a 100% chance of survival and the same chances of long-term well-being as a full-term baby. However, your 34-to-36-week-old baby may be smaller and more fragile than a full-term or 40-week-old baby.

2. Is a premature baby normal?

Many premature babies will grow normally. However, they are more likely to have developmental issues and require frequent developmental and health checks at the hospital or with a doctor. Visit your doctor if you are concerned about your baby's development.

3. What causes premature babies to be so small?

Babies with low birth weight are frequently born before 30 weeks of pregnancy. Babies usually gain weight in the latter stages of pregnancy. Premature babies have less time to develop and gain weight in their mother's uterus. Another reason for low birth weight is when a child does not develop properly during pregnancy.

4. What is the weight of a preterm baby?

The weight of preterm babies depends on how early they are born.
1. Weight of full-term babies - approximately 7.7 pounds.
2. Weight of late preterm babies - between 4.7 and 6.3 pounds.
3. Weight of very preterm babies - between 1.7 and 3.75 pounds.

5. Do premature babies gain weight more quickly?

Premature babies weighing 1000-1500 g double their birth weight by 10 weeks and triple it by 18 weeks with a growth rate of 20-30 g per day up to 20 weeks of age.

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