Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

What happens if premature?

(10 Posts)
funtimewincies Tue 29-Sep-09 18:57:47

I'm 32 weeks and there's a danger that I might go into premature labour. After an episode at the weekend the mw insists that I call the labour ward if I get a repeat performance so that drugs can be administered to halt the labour and steroids for the baby's lungs. The baby has gone from not being engaged last week to 3/5 this week and is back to back. I've got a hospital appointment tomorrow.

I'm trying to stay calm, but was wondering what care the baby would need if it was born before 37 weeks. It's all a far cry from my ds who was induced 2 weeks late!

Any experiences or tips gratefully received.

Claire236 Tue 29-Sep-09 19:21:45

I've just turned 30 weeks & spent a week in hospital 3 weeks ago having contractions & my cervix had started to open. I was given drugs to stop the contractions & to close my cervix as well as having the steroid injection for babys lungs. The baby was monitored at least twice a day - both checking his heartbeat & recording contractions. I was absolutely terrified that my baby was going to arrive at 27 weeks but do try to stay calm as while the baby is ok & your waters haven't broken there's a lot that can be done to stop your baby arriving. Rest as much as possible as that's one of the best things you can do to stop things progressing. I was on bedrest for 4 days & won't be allowed to do much until baby arrives. I was told that 32 weeks was quite a big milestone developmentally with 35 weeks being my aim for total peace of mind. Chances are if your baby arrived now he would need some time in SCBU but that there wouldn't be any long term effect.

jerin Tue 29-Sep-09 22:28:40

Have you had a set of steroids already? I'd ask for them tomorrow at your appointment.

My DS was born at 32 weeks. He breathed on his own but would get very tired and then they forget so he spent time on CPAP. (It blows air up their nose to keep them breathing.) babies born prematurely often suffer jaundice and will spend time under ultra violet lights. They'll have regular heel pricks to test for it.
Obviously the care needed can vary from baby to baby but help with breathing is the main thing I seem to remember. Initially SCBU is very scarey - lots of monitors and alarms. Ask if you can have a look round your local one and maybe see a 32 week baby so you would know what to expect. They're minute - but perfect.
The unit will have a criteria that babies have to reach before being allowed home. My local hospitals is 36 weeks, 4lb and taking all feeds. You would probably be able to stay in at the hospital for 10 days or so -find out their policy. Organise some clothes and things at home that you would want brought in for you should you have an extened stay. (My DP brought me in pre-pregnancy clothes that didnt fit, a beach dress, couldnt find shampoo...)
Try to relax and stay calm (not easy I know) and fingers crossed all will be ok. a friend went into labour at 32 weeks and then ended up being induced at 41 weeks.. Good luck x

roxy12 Wed 30-Sep-09 12:06:06


The baby will be kept an eye on in special baby care unit (SCBU).

They will look at how the baby is feeding and is he/she gaining weight as this is very important!

My baby had a punctured lung when born and spent a week in special baby care!
It is very worrying but honestly i can say this from the bottom of my heart that you will deal with it.

I look back now and think i dont no how i coped with it but you do, you have to thats your baby.

Good luck! Im sure everything will be fine for you.

Carrotfly Wed 30-Sep-09 12:12:09

My DS was born at 36 weeks and a hefty 3.3kg so weight was not an issue.

However, breathing was difficult at first in that he wasnt breathing very deeply, and therefore oxygen wasn't getting delivered very efficiently to his fingers toes etc. This made him quite tired and so it spiralled.

He was kept in scbu for a week, fed nasally by a tube every 4 hours with expressed milk and under a lamp as someone else mentioned.

It was teribly upsetting at first, but I knew he was in the right place.

It was very stressfull but it was all OK after a few days. I'm sure the same will be true for you.

rainbowdays Wed 30-Sep-09 12:41:31

funtime - just wanted to reassure you that it might not happen too! I had two pregnancies where I had threatened prem labour and ended up with steriods and drugs to stop labour being administered, but when this happened I was also given a chance to talk to the nurses from the SCBU unit. As it turned out neither pregnancies were early. I ended up in and out of hospital but they were both born at term. So I wanted to post an encouragement that if it does happen you will be given plenty of support, but also that there is a good chance that it won't necessarily happen either. Hope this helps.

minervaitalica Wed 30-Sep-09 13:34:14


my DD was born at 29 weeks (with no warning). She had a GBS infection at birth and was too small to breathe, so was initially ventilated, given steroids, then given oxygen through a mask etc... Was not fun, but she is now an unstoppable 15 mths old - so all's well.

In general terms:
1) Prem babies go to the special care unit. However, at 32 weeks your baby would be much bigger than most babies there (my baby was less than 3lb and was huge comparing to most!!!).

2) Babies born after 32 weeks tend to have fewer problems breathing as they are older, so although your baby is likely to be in an incubator initially, they do come out of it pretty soon (my DD was out of the incubator into a cot at 33 weeks).

3)neonatal Staff will tell you that babies tend to come home from special care unit around their EDD. But that depends on hospital policy as well - at my hospital most prems went home around 35-36 weeks or when able to wake up for feeding (weight was deemed to be largely irrelevant as long it was going the right way)

4)At 32 weeks, there is a chance that baby will not be able to breastfeed/take a bottle yet (at least not around the clock). In which case he/she will be fed through a naso-gastric tube; you will be asked if you want to express milk for him/her. However, most babies can start feeding form breast/bottle at 34 weeks, and it is a good idea to put her to the breast soonish if you want to breastfeed.

5)Even if baby is in hospital, you will be able to care for him/her; staff will teach you to feed, administer vitamins or meds if required, change whilst in the incubator or cot, bathe whatever. If you can stay in the hospital then I would recommend it as it makes it easier to be with her.

6)Your baby may be initially attached to monitors (BP, oxygen levels etc). As your baby gets bigger the monitors will be slowly taken off - they are really annoying anyway as they ping all the time when nothing's wrong. Argh

I would deffo visit a neonatal unit so you know what it looks like. We were in there for 8 wks and the vast majority of babies were absolutely fine - just needed a bit of specialist care at the beginning, and then they just had to learn to feed (prems can sleep 20 hours a day!). May I add that the level of care we received was great - the ratio of staff was 1 nurse to 2 babies.

If you have any questions just let us know and good luck with the appt!

needahand Wed 30-Sep-09 14:17:15

funtime I have pretty much the same experience as rainbowdays. I went into labour at 32 weeks with DD and was in hospital for 72 hours. They administered drugs to stop labour and steroids and the baby was monitored and we had a scan. After I was released I had scans about everyfortnight and was closely monitored. DD made her grand entrance at 40 + 5! I was very worried with my DS that the same thing would happen again but he waited until 37 weeks on the dot. Try to take it easy if you can though and perhaps if you can afford it, start your maternity leave

funtimewincies Wed 30-Sep-09 18:48:49

Thank you for taking the time to post so many helpful replies smile.

I went to the hospital this morning and things have calmed down a lot. I spent yesterday evening on the birth ball and crawling on hands and knees trying to encourage the baby to flip to the front. It's still back to back but has disengaged completely, so hopefully the pain was just him/her having a go at a docking procedure! Just being monitored weekly now.

I'm much more relaxed now about what special care would entail if I did go into labour in the next few weeks, so thanks very much for that. I suppose you never think about these things until you need to. It's especially useful to know that I could express milk for him/her as I'm in an area where few women breastfeed (I was the only one on the ward with ds) so was wondering whether it would just be presumed that he/she 'couldn't' feed.

Thanks again grin!

needahand Wed 30-Sep-09 21:02:31

right sorry but I will bang on about hypnobirthing again. After the stressful experience with my DD (it didn't stop at 32 weeks, she was back to back to and I was in labour 36 hours) I decided to do things differently second time round and did an hypnobirthing course. Basically it is a combo of deep relaxation, suggestions and visualisations.

For my sons, some of the visualisations were that he would be born at term and also in the right position. To do that the teacher gave me a drawing called "optimal birth position". I just had to stick it somewhere obvious (for me next to the mirror in my bathroom) and look at it as often asI could (so usually everytime I brushed my teeth). I also only sat on a birth ball. Don't know if the picture had anything to play in actual labour, but DS was in the right position.

All the very best, I hope DB stays put as long as possible

Join the discussion

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

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: