Would you like to be on Mumsnet's research panel? We're especially keen for parents-to-be and new parents to join. You can sign up here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive on offer for your views.

Prem baby, 6 weeks early!!

(53 Posts)

Hi Ladies, My waters broke new years day at 33 weeks and my baby will be born by section in a few days at 34 weeks. Was just looking for some shared experience, and maybe what to expect. How big she will be? if she would be poorly. Thannks x

HDee Sun 06-Jan-13 14:58:52

My daughter was born exactly 6 weeks early and weighed 4lb 13oz. She was initially taken straight to SCBU. She wasn't breathing when born and needed 'extensive rescusitation' so that was why. If baby is breathing and screaming when he comes out you will get a chance to say hello before he is taken.

The most likely problem initially will be keeping the temperature stable so he may be in n incubator. He will have a feeding tube in either his nose or mouth going to his tummy, and he will probably have his arm splinted with an IV for antibiotics as your waters have been gone a while.

It will take a few days for him to establish feeding. They tend to get tired very quickly at that gestation.

My daughter was out of an incubator the same day as being born (she was born early hours of the morning) and out of SCBU and with me on Transitional Care within 36 hours.

We managed to get breast feeding going very well and came home on the evening of day 6, against medical advice so by all accounts expect to be there for at least a week or two.

Basically you can't rush baby, and they do what they, when they are able to do it.

Have you had steroid injections for baby's lungs? That will improve the chances of him not needing cpap when he is born. If cpap is needed, it probably won't be for long.

HDee Sun 06-Jan-13 14:59:45

Not sure why I thought you were having a boy, sorry. Good news is that girls always do better statistically than boys.

Hi, thanks for reply, I have had 2 doses of steroids for her, and I am on anti biotics 4 times a day until she is born, Ur little girl sounds a good weight, but guess the weight isnt the most important thing either its how mature there lungs are, I want to breast feed too, so hoping I can get her on as quick as poss. xx

HDee Sun 06-Jan-13 15:10:35

I exclusively breasted my daughter after about three days, again against the nurses advice. They maintained that I should also have been expressing and topping up through her tube as she was too small to feed properly.

Luckily I had the benefit of having breastfed two previous babies so I could tell she was feeding well. My argument was that if she was feeding, then being tube fed too, she's going to be too sleepy to wake for her next feed, leading to another tube feed where she is stuffed full and the cycle continues.

We did lots and lots of cuddling, again something that wasn't wholey encouraged so I could respond to her cues for feeding. The days in NICU were just spent with her on my chest.

Remember, just because baby is in SCBU, she will still be YOUR baby. You can touch her and pick her up whenever you please. Don't let the nurses make you believe you need their permission.

Thank you thats really helpful, I have 1 other child, and sadly breast feeding didn't work out to great with him, but I am absolutely determined this time, I no i can do it smile

BionicEmu Sun 06-Jan-13 15:56:02

My DS was born at 34+1. He weighed 6lb 3oz! Didn't go to SCBU, came on the normal post-natal ward with me. Had some issues keeping his blood sugar up so he had to have some formula, but then was discharged with me at 2 days old.

Was re-admitted at a week old though as he'd lost a lot of weight, turns out he had a very poor suck reflex. Was then tube-fed for about a week, and finally discharged after 10 days. He was admitted to a general children's ward though, and we were given a private room so I or DH could stay with him all the time.

Good luck!

Thank you for sharing that BionicEmu would be amazing if this happened for me too, I didn't realise how well she might do at this stage smile

Heavywheezing Sun 06-Jan-13 19:14:02

My two nephew's were born at 34 weeks, both 4.10 .

Neither needed scbu, or any extra help.

Keep visitors away though so they don't give the, colds etc.

My sil expressed her milk but the baby's both preferred formula and thriving is the name of the game here.

PrincessMononoke Sun 06-Jan-13 19:16:15

Hi, my dt's were born at 30 weeks, 3lb3 and 3lb4, they had 5 weeks of special care.
Having steroids should help your dd lungs, like other posters have mentioned she may need help to regulate her temp so could be in an incubater and may need nasal tube feeds until she is strong enough to feed.
Prem babies are often jaundiced so she might need light therapy.
I bf my 2 I needed a lot of support to get the hang of it and they were very sleepy so it took a lot of patience but we got there in the end, I had a lot of help from the breast feeding nurses who came down to scbu from the post Natal ward.
Good luck.

FoofFighter Sun 06-Jan-13 19:17:11

Friends baby was born late last year at same stage, weighed 4lb 13oz and was out in 3 days after temperature had stabilised. No scbu, no tubes, no drips.

Think of the worst obviously but don't assume that heavy intervention will be needed as it's not always the case by a long shot.

Wishing you well smile

Thanks for ur stories, It's just nice to know all the things to expect, Of course she could be fine and not need much help but I think she is going to be very small, she already measured small through out my pregnancy x

therugratref Sun 06-Jan-13 19:23:37

My DT's were born at 34 + 2 weighing 4lb 12oz and 5lb. One spent 4hours in special care due to low blood sugar the other came straight back to the ward. They are now strapping 9 year olds.

MrsSpencerReid Sun 06-Jan-13 19:24:41

My son was born at 34+5 by hospital dates he needed scbu but I think that was more to do with my health issues than anything else, why don't you ask if you can have a look around before c day then it might not seem so bad if baby ends up there? We were in nearly 2 weeks cos I couldn't get DS to bf, I did what the midwives told me even though it didn't seem right! So go with your instinct smile the thing that still upsets me now is that I didn't get to see him before the tool him to scbu, they brought him to me but I couldn't see him, I should have asked ten to turn him so I could see but I was an emergency section, my partner only just made it and I was so scared I didn't say anything hmm maybe mention to your OH/midwife that unless it's impossible you want a quick peek! Good luck, will be thinking of you and baby smile

MadameJ Sun 06-Jan-13 19:56:25

Hi OP, my DD was born at 34 weeks and weighed 6lb 6oz (so looked huge in Scbu!!!), she needed help with breathing when she was first born and because of this and my health she was taken to scbu and she was fitted with a feeding tube.

She came back to me the next morning and we stayed in the transitional care unit for 12 days as she had jaundice and needed phototherapy. We were discharged after this point but she still had her feeding tube as BF'ing was very tiring for her, so we did a mixture of both.
Her feeding tube was removed 4 days later and her weight gain was fabulous and she was BF until she self-weaned at 17 months.

Establishing feeding was hard but I was lucky in that she was my first so I spent lovely days just snuggled in bed with her having full access to the breast whenever she wanted so if this is possibly I would definately recommend it.

DD is 2 now and you would never know she was premature, she walked before her 1st birthday and has a great vocab for her age.

Good luck with everything smile

Twattybollocks Sun 06-Jan-13 20:42:46

At that stage, about 4lb is the average (50th centile) I believe. Some babies will need help breathing, some won't, some may be slow feeders, some will be fine. Most will need careful watching for temperature, simply due to their size. at 34w they are only 3 weeks from being considered full term, so nearly cooked anyhow.

GoingGoingGoth Sun 06-Jan-13 20:57:13

My DD was born at 34 weeks, 3lb 7, she'd stopped growing, they think for about 4 weeks.
We got to hold her before they took her SCU, she was there for about a month, started in an incubator but didn't need any assistance with breathing, it was just getting her to feed was the problem.
She's now 8, a little smaller than her classmates, but great vocabulary (sometimes too much!)
Will be thinking of you, hope everything goes well.

MrsReiver Sun 06-Jan-13 21:03:21

Hiya, my DS was born at exactly 34 weeks nearly 9 years ago. He weighed 5lb 10 (apparently he could've been 10lbs if he'd gone full term shock) didn't need SCBU but was in a special warm bed in a side room with me. Like other early ones here, he struggled to maintain his temperature and blood sugar, and he was very, very sleepy. We tried so hard with BFing, but the support was shite and I felt very, very pressured to put him on the bottle. But that was a long time ago, and I was in my early 20s and didn't stand my ground.

Developmentally, he hit all his milestones slightly later than his peers, but always within the "normal" range - just at the later end. However by the time he was 2 he had caught up.

He's now a strapping 4ft 6 8 year old, who towers over the kids that seemed so big when we were all at baby group together.

If you're planning to have any more, you will be very well looked after during subsequent pregnancies. I'm currently 33 weeks pregnant with our second and have had regular scans and consultant appointments to check the levels of fluid and functionality of the placenta. So far so good, no sign of this one coming early, I think its very, very cosy where it is.

Good luck xx

DS was born at 32 weeks and weighed 4lbs 2

He needed help with his breathing and only just avoided having to be intubated, instead he was on CPAP, basically a breathing mask (which we called his trunk) for a day and then it was gradually reduced.

He had a feeding tube for a couple of weeks, was jaundiced, was in an incubator for a couple of weeks, had a blood transfusion and came home after 23 days.

He is now nearly 4 and could talk for britain, he is still a little scrawny (for want of a better word) but perfect

It all sounds very scary, and it can be but make sure you ask lots of questions. The nurses should encourage you to touch/hold your baby and be as involved as you can be in the day-to-day care of your baby.

Hopefully, you won't need to worry about any of that lot though. There were a few babies in and out in the same night whilst we were there.

Wishing you well

Thanks for all sharing ur stories, given me alot to think about, I do think its best to expect the worst and hope for the best, and just keep everything crossed she comes out tough and not needing much help x x

squiggleywiggler Sun 06-Jan-13 21:38:15

Hello, wishing you all the best for this week. Some great thoughts above.

In addition you might want to have a quick read about Kangaroo Mother Care [KMC]: www.kangaroomothercare.com/ - basically keeping baby on your chest skin to skin as much as possible which is shown to regulate breathing, heartrate and temperature as well as promoting breastfeeding.

There's some great info about breastfeeding the premature baby on Dr Jack Newman's website too: www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-BPB

Depending on how forward thinking/experienced in KMC the paediatricians/midwives/nurses are they will be more or less receptive to you doing lots of skin-to-skin, so it is worth letting them know you are keen to breastfeed and do KMC (if indeed you are!) and asking to speak to someone who is experienced with it.

Thanks squiggleywiggler really helpful smile

Here's my story:

Ds2 was born at 31+3 by em CS, weighing 4lbs exactly. He was ventilated for 24hrs and had CPAC ( a machine to help him breathing when he didn't do it well enough) and oxygen a while longer. He came home aged 5 weeks, so still before his due date.
He is not almost 9 and built like the proverbial outhouse grin.

Be prepared that your baby may not be able to feed immediately. It is important that you start expressing colostrum as soon as is practical for you and then every 2-3 hours, at least once during the night. A hospital grade electric pump made all the difference for me. My milk was frozen and stored until he was able to have some down his feeding tube (which he then vomited back up, the wee sod wink!).

Yy to lots of skin to skin, this is possible even with tubes and lines (not as long as ventilated if she turns out to need that).
I almost second looking at the Dr Jack Newman site - he is my BFing hero.
Also Kellymom is a site full of evidence based information.

It is scary to have such a small and fragile baby, but her chances of being well and thriving are huge.
V best of luck when the time comes.
Btw, my recovery from the section was fine as well.

BrusselSproutsFartyPants Sun 06-Jan-13 21:51:29

My DD1 was born at 34 weeks exactly weighing 3lb 1.5oz. I had pre-eclampsia so she was born by ELCS and was small for gestation. She was whisked straight to NICU where she stayed for 3 weeks and I then back into hospital for 5 days before bringing her home.

At 34 weeks they said her sucking reflex wasn't developed so had to be fed through a tub. They did let me use the equipement for expressing but the bottle fed babies were all being allowed home and I felt bad causing her to stay in hospital longer than needed.

She was sick a fair bit to begin with so she had to have a stomach x-ray to make sure that there wasn't anything going on but apart from that she was very healthy, if a little on the small side.

Really hope everything goes well for your family, it is a scary thought!

Thank u, ur story is very positive + i hope to have a similar experience. If i get the chance i will have to come back and share with u all how things turn out x

Thank u for sharing, i think i am worrying also because i measured small through this pregnancy and now with her being early her weight is worrying me, even drs examining my belly always comment, a dr the other day said " aw she is tiny, she never really had a chance did she" which upset me a little, she could have worded that better, I no she meant she didn't have much chance to grow nothing else but still, I also had been booked b4 all this happened for an elective section, after previous 1, and they where ok with that, but have told me if i changed my mind she would be an extremely easy birth, i am still going ahead with section tho x

Catrin Sun 06-Jan-13 21:59:57

Mine was 35 weeks, 5lb 9
Only problem really was jaundice, which they kept an eye on - she was under a lamp for a while in hospital, but it didn't really go for a couple of weeks - they were ready to readmit if needed.
SHe did not feed well, mostly because being so tiny she needed very little, as a result, my milk supply was all over the place and never really established. She suited bottles much more, although I persevered with BF.

Clothes - I am a babygro till 3 months kinda gal, but I know this doesn;t suit everyone - you may need smaller everything for a while. H had to go get prem size stuff as dd was so much smaller than even newborn - ditto nappies.

It is strange holding such a teeny baby, but you get used to it very quickly! Good luck with it all!

Thank you, Yeah I think she should just be comfortable for now, I have some prem baby things now, and micro nappies. so she should fit into those, I am scared of holding her, but she is my baby so I am sure I will be fine, it's all so much to take in x x

MustafaCake Sun 06-Jan-13 22:24:16

Mine was born at 35 weeks and weighed EIGHT POUNDS!!!! (thank God he never went to term!)

When was induced the Dr said that in her experience about 20% of babies born at that gestation would need some additional support but that outcomes are very very good.

DS was fine for the first hour or so after birth then started grunting a bit and getting blue lips so they whizzed him up to NICU.

He was there for 4 days on CPAP (pressured oxygen) and being tube fed as his lungs were a bit underdeveloped (typical premmie lungs) and one had a small hole in it from his 100 mph delivery (1 hour labour which is not uncommon for ladies with Obstetric cholastasis, nothing to do with being prem!).

Then we spent another 4 days in hospital on/off the lamp and getting the sleepy sod to feed as he had jaundice and lost 10% of his birthweight.

Once he was off the CPAP we had no probs establishing breastfeeding, infact he took to it far better than my first full-term baby. We did formula top ups as recommended by the Drs but then scaled those back til he was on just breastmilk by about 5 weeks. Warning - it did muck up my milk supply, you have to express loads to keep your supply up. I was doing it every 3 hours.

The Drs said that most babies don't need this level of care at 35 weeks and most are off home within a day or so. I guess we are just unlucky, made worse by my superspeedy labour and the Obstetric cholastasis. I also think my dates were wrong as I'd got PG straight after a m/c and never had a proper period to date the pregnancy from.

Good luck with everything, I bet you are excited to meet your baby!!

everything, FWIW gestation/maturity is more important than weight wrt how much support a baby is likely to need so don't worry too much about measuring small (measurements, even by ultrasound, are notoriously unreliable as well).

Hope you have a good day smile.

Thank you for that, sounds like u had a right few days of it, It's crazy how all you ladies have different experience and no 2 are the same. I'm getting super nervous now, i have my pre-op tomorrow then she will be here Wednesday, she will be 34 weeks 1 day x x

Good Luck!

GoingGoingGoth Mon 07-Jan-13 21:26:01

You MUST let us know how you get on! Good Luck

Nuttyprofessor Mon 07-Jan-13 21:30:00

DD was born at 33 weeks 4 days and weighed 7lbs 4ozs. No problems at all.

HDee Mon 07-Jan-13 21:47:51

Nutty, could your dates have maybe been wrong? It would be unusual for a baby of that gestation to have no feeding or temp issues, and he sounds rather large. Not doubting you, just wondering.

Thechick Mon 07-Jan-13 22:03:10

Ds2 was born at 34 weeks exactly. He was on the post natal ward for the first day and then ended up in scbu due to low blood sugar. That came up after a couple of days being ff and then he was a bit jaundiced so was under lights for about 24 hrs then they wanted him taking a certain amount of formula before he could leave. I was offering my boob as well. I was expressing every three hours as well. We didn't establish bf until he came home at 16 days. Everyone in the hospital was lovely, but their advice was contradictory some times and the bf councillor was very good. Good luck with it all. As you had the steroid injections already it shouldn't be too bad.

Hey foof how you doing. I was on the nov thread. Hope all is good with you.

Thechick Mon 07-Jan-13 22:07:04

Oh and my little one was 5lb 1oz st birth

Good luck everything. DS was born in April this year at 31+5 weighing 4lbs 11.5oz - I think the steroid injections did an awful lot to help him, so it's great you have already had those.

Of course it is all a bit of an unknown until she arrives, but if you can, I agree with the suggestion that you ask to visit SCBU and speak to the staff, so you have an idea what to expect. Obviously you will need to recover yourself from the CS, but my main bit of advice would be to get expressing as soon as possible after the birth - in hindsight, I didn't try for the first 24 hours because I was a bit shellshocked, and poor DS really could have done with the colostrum sooner sad. If you don't know what to do (I had to guess a bit), ask a MW to show you - they should give you syringes or cups to collect it in.

Hopefully your DD will have the sucking reflex already - I think it develops around 34 weeks. If she is struggling to maintain her temperature, it may be better at first not to overtire her by putting her to the breast all the time - but the SCBU staff will guide you. I hope you will have supportive nurses, but if you need to you can always request to see the hospital's infant feeding coordinator.

DS was in for 2 weeks and 2 days, just needed to gain weight (he reached his birth weight again the day he was discharged), maintain his temperature and establish feeding. He did amazingly when he came out, put on weight like a total champ - he was on the 9th centile for his corrected age when he came home, and at 6mo he was up at the 50th (greedy baby). You should see the HVs' faces when I tell them he has been exclusively breastfed! So it is possible smile

You may want to invest in a good electric pump when you get home (especially if DD is still in hospital then) - I have the Ameda Lactaline - or else you can hire a hospital grade pump from the NCT or other places.

There's also a MN premature birth board where you will find an awful lot of people with similar experiences, and might be useful for more support after DD arrives.

Thinking of you thanks

MrsSpencerReid Mon 07-Jan-13 22:32:07

I second the ameda lactaline, double pumping, if you need to pump for a while , is the best thing!! If you want a new one they are £40 off on amazon if you join amazon family which is free for 3 months

Thechick Mon 07-Jan-13 23:31:37

I have the lactaline too. Really helped!!

Yep, I had a Lactaline too - did the trick grin

Very best of luck tomorrow. I hope all goes very well indeed and you get to meet (and hopefully hold) your daughter. I'll be thinking of you.

Jojobells1986 Wed 09-Jan-13 06:49:52

Good luck today everything. I hope your baby is one of those who copes amazingly well with being early & you get to be home in no time! smile

looneytune Wed 09-Jan-13 15:24:03

Been following your thead and just wanted to say I hope all goes/went ok. x

PurpleStorm Wed 09-Jan-13 21:23:28

Hope all goes well, OP.

DS was born at 34+1, weighing 4lb 6oz, after my waters broke at 33 weeks. He was in SCBU for 3.5 weeks.

He was breathing well at first, but needed to go onto CPAP after 2 hours because his lungs weren't quite mature enough to keep up, despite me having steroids. On CPAP for 2 days.

Because my waters had broken a week before I went into labour, DS had a chest x-ray and blood tests to check for any infections, and he was put on IV antibiotics straight away, as a precautionary measure. Luckily his tests all came back fine, so the antibiotics weren't needed for too long.

He also needed to go under the sunlamp for a bit because he was jaundiced, and had some problems maintaining his temperature at first.

The main issue he had that was related to his prematurity, other than the breathing, was getting feeding established. He was fed by tube at first, because his sucking reflex hadn't developed by the time he was born. I wanted to breastfeed him, and the midwives and neo-natal staff were all very supportive with this, but it took quite a while for us to get feeding established even after his sucking reflex developed.

My twins were born at 34 weeks, they weighed 5lb7 & 6lb1. They were in the SCBU for 6 days. I had time to have both steroid injections to develop their lungs, which I think made a huge difference. They were in the SCBU for temperature regulation and for help with feeding (tube fed). Although they were big compared to the other babies in there, it was still a difficult time. They are healthy and strong and 14 weeks old now.

All the best.

Wallison Wed 09-Jan-13 21:52:38

I hope that all goes well for you. SCBU can be a pretty alienating environment with all the tubes and machines but the staff that worked in the one my son was in were amazing - I was just constantly in awe of how quickly and skilfully they cared for him.

My waters also went early, similar to you, and he did need IV antibiotics so that could possibly happen in your case as well. He was on CPAP for a day and tube-fed for a week, but you can express your milk if that happens - I did; there was an electric pump in a room adjoining the SCBU. He was also jaundiced for ages, which makes them sleepy and also I think weak.

Similar to MrsReiver's son, he didn't hit his milestones at the same time as his peers or even according to what would be expected of him with an adjusted date. It seemed like every time one came up, there was enough concern to 'monitor' and then he'd just do it anyway, albeit a bit late.

To look at him now you would never know he had such a difficult start. He is a massive strapping lad for his age - the tallest in his class actually, even though he's not the oldest. There are absolutely no concerns about his development in the slightest any more.

If your daughter does end up in SCBU, do push to be given a room in the unit so that you can be with her. I had to wait a couple of days to be discharged from the ward because I was ill myself, during which I spent most of my time up in SCBU anyway, but then the (lovely lovely) senior midwife whose care I was under arranged it so that I could stay up in SCBU with him for the rest of his time there, which made things much easier.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Wallison Wed 09-Jan-13 21:59:39

Oops I missed a page somehow and I see that your baby will be here by now! Exciting!

looneytune Thu 10-Jan-13 18:49:13

Just wondered how it went? Hope all is well x

wifey6 Thu 10-Jan-13 20:30:27

Hoping all went well OP. thinking of you thanks

Hi Ladies, just wanted too share that my beautiful DD Is home safety, she was 4lb 11oz (34 weeks 1day), was in a incubator,needed a little help from cpap, was jaundice, and suspected infection, turned out she didn't though. Needed help while regulating her temp, and established feeding (express/bottle + bf) home after 11days. so many emotions and ups and downs in those 11 days though, she was having apneas at 1 point. But so happy we are home, and thank you for all ure stories and lovely comments. xx

MJP1 Thu 24-Jan-13 19:56:46

thats wonderful news so glad everything is ok and you are home xxx

HDee Thu 24-Jan-13 19:59:00

Congratulations. Enjoy every minute of her.

MrsSpencerReid Thu 24-Jan-13 22:11:28

So lovely to hear she is home smile thank for letting us know

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now