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what are 34 weekers realy like ?

(24 Posts)
summerdreams Wed 16-Jul-14 19:42:19

im having my baby by elective c-section at 34 weeks due to neurological problem he will have steroid injecitons before to mature his lungs and ive been told he'll proberly be in scbu for around a week and will be between 4lb8 and 5lb2 estimated im formula feeding due to the situation and may have to be moved to a diffrent hospital after 3 days post section for my surgery but should only be in a couple of days i just wanna know anything about 34 weekers have done research but wanna know what there like when they get home whilst in hospital even silly things any info well apreciated

DebH1975 Thu 17-Jul-14 17:41:06

My DD was born at 34+5 by ELCS. She is now 7 weeks old. She was a twin so slightly smaller than yours will probably be. She was 4lb 9 when born. I had steroids at 32 weeks to help the lung development. She spent 12 days in SCBU, firstly because she needed help with breathing (the surfactant in her lungs wasn't totally developed despite having the steroid injections).

She was on cpap and oxygen for about 5 days or so. Then she really just needed to get a bit bigger, they wouldn't discharge her until she started to put on weight and it took a while (if your FF though this will probably be less of an issue for you - I was trying to EBF).

I stayed on the SCBU with her, I can't deny that at the time I was pretty miserable and the 12 days felt like a lifetime, but after being at home for a couple of weeks it's all just a distant memory. I'm really grateful for everything they did for her (and me). The other added bonus of being in there is that as a first time mum I got shown how to do all the practical stuff (bathing etc) and having loads of nurses to help you look after them in the first few days is brilliant.

Incidentally there was another baby on the ward at the same time who was also born at 34+5, he weighed 4lb 13 and didn't have any breathing issues - spent less time in SCBU - I think he was there for about a week.

Had no issues since been at home - she has settled in really well, although I was a bit nervous about bringing her home its been totally fine - and everything is so much easier at home.

Good luck - hope it all goes well. If you haven't already done so - go and have a look around the SCBU ward.

Matildathecat Thu 17-Jul-14 17:53:56

The honest answer is that 34 weekers do vary. Some are fine whereas some are still immature and do need support with both breathing and feeding. Size and maturity don't always go hand in hand, so being a good size is great but doesn't necessarily mean the baby has good maturity.

The steroids should help a lot but basically wait and see. 34 weekers have great long term outcomes but as above, you might have to be a little patient as your baby 'gets going' . On the other hand s/he might be absolutely fine and just a little smaller than a full term baby.

Other things the staff will be observing are blood sugar level because less body fat can lead to lower levels, hence very regular feeds. The sucking reflex can be slow, so tube feeding is a possibility ( you don't want the baby to use up too much energy sucking or they won't grow so quickly). Pre term babies have a tendency towards neonatal jaundice so a lot will end up under a phototherapy lamp for a few days. This also requires regular feeds.

Small babies can have trouble with temp control so need keeping warm so possibility of an incubated initially.

Sorry it's a bit muddled up, it's been a while since I worked in a NNU. The short answer is wait and see but the outlook is excellent.

Hope it all goes well and you are ok, it sounds worrying for you. Hope you have lots of support. Do get lots of photos in case you are apart for a while.

Best wishes.x

minipie Thu 17-Jul-14 17:54:29


DD was born at 34 weeks after my waters broke suddenly. She was average weight for 34 weeks (4lb 15), sounds like your DS will be too which is great. Also great that you'll have the steroids first.

Physically DD was basically like a normal baby but smaller and thinner. Also she was a little bit furry in some places! Even the tiniest baby gros were a bit big but that was good because they were easier to get on.

She spent 3 weeks in SCBU. Though the second half of this time was due to getting her to BF - which she was particularly slow to learn - so if I'd FF I would have got her home a lot sooner.

She slept pretty much all her time in hospital - it was a major event if she opened her eyes. She was very loud if you annoyed her (like by taking her temperature) though! She was a bit jaundiced and had to go naked under the blue lamp two or three times. She also had problems with temperature regulation so was on a heated mat for a while. She also had a few episodes of reflux making her stop breathing momentarily, very scary but very common and they all have oxygen monitors for this purpose. But basically she was pretty healthy.

We found it difficult once she got home but to be honest I think most of the issues we had were actually because she had a tongue tie (so couldn't feed properly) rather than because she was prem. Though I didn't know that at the time and I worried about everything more because she was prem.

Have you been advised to formula feed? I ask because breastmilk is hugely recommended for premature babies as it is so much easier for their immature guts to process. My DD had formula at first but she threw it all up and lost loads of weight, and she did much better once I started to express milk for her. Would you consider expressing using the hospital pumps?

minipie Thu 17-Jul-14 17:58:23

Just spotted you mentioned neurological problem in your OP. Is that a neurological problem for the baby or for you? If for the baby then obviously I guess that will affect how he is.

I also remembered something I was told in SCBU which is that 34/35 weekers (especially boys for some reason!) apparently can go into what they called "holiday mode" where they don't really seem to be making much progress for ages (with feeding etc) and it gets very frustrating. Then one day they just sort themselves out. Anyway that didn't really happen with us but just thought I would mention.

Thecircle Thu 17-Jul-14 18:01:00

My 34 weeker was 5lb 10oz.

He had a very difficult delivery and suffered fairly awful bruising which probably lengthened his stay in nicu.

He was tube fed and then finally got the hang of Bf at about ten days.

He had prolonged jaundice and lost a lot of his birth weight, he was below 5lb at one point and very very sleepy due to jaundice. One the jaundice cleared fully there was no stopping him. We were discharged fully from nicu at 2-3 months iirc

He's now a strapping 3.5 yr old, nicu staff were awesome. Am sure you and baby are in good hands, good luck

Bannakaffalatta Thu 17-Jul-14 18:04:09

My ds was born at just 35 weeks and I think went into 'holiday mode' he was big (7 pounds) but was under lights for 2 weeks for jaundice and tube fed as just wasn't interested in feeding but this was made worse by having to leave him under lights I'm sure.

houseisfallingdown Thu 17-Jul-14 18:10:56

DS was born at 34+4 ( not entirely unexpected as DD was 36 weeks). Normal labour. They gave me steroids in labour to help his lungs. He was 5lb 4oz and was in scbu for a couple of days just to keep an eye on him. I breastfed him and he had a bit of formula as well. We were in hospital for 9 days in the end because he was severely jaundiced but he was on the ward/ private room with me after he'd had his couple of days in scbu.
He put on weight well and met all his milestones on time. He is now 5 and is over the 99th percentile for height and weight and has been since he was about 2.

summerdreams Thu 17-Jul-14 19:48:18

thankyou so much everyone so intresting to hear all the diffrent sides of it. thanks
minipie i'd love to bf but unfortunately its me with the neurological problem and i will 100% have to leave baby 3 days after his birth to go to another hospital to have an operation and theres a lot of medication im on and it will only be upped when babys born i may have a while away from him and the toxins in my body wouldn't be good for him and if he's home and im breast feeding and have to go into hospital it'd be even worse just want the least stress for the both of us. and they're not actually convinced that babys growing anymore so it might be earlier and im only 30+1 so got my scan tuesday if they dont see no growth might be next week sad

MrsPear Thu 17-Jul-14 20:00:43

Please don't panic if it is sooner - i know easier said than done. Both my boys were born early - one at 10 weeks and the other 9 weeks early - it was a rocky road esp ds1 but they are both healthy children. Ds 1 does have hearing loss but is starting mainstream primary in September. Every day really does count. I hope everything turns out well. If you have questions or need a rant please do. If you can let us know how you get on.

Btw ds2 had igur and was a tiny 1.46kg at birth which is bottom of charts for gestation but now at 20 months is 11.5kg which is average for his actual age!

summerdreams Thu 17-Jul-14 20:10:45

thanks mrspear your ds sounds like he's doing great that makes me feel hopefull

minipie Thu 17-Jul-14 21:35:31

Ah sorry to hear that summer. you could ask about donor breast milk maybe. very best of luck, it's good you're past 30 weeks anyway, big milestone in prem land.

ilovesmarties Tue 22-Jul-14 12:38:25

My ds was born at 34 weeks (unexpected) and weighed 4.9lbs. He was on cpap for 2 days and low flow for 2 days and spent 4 weeks in scbu. He mainly had problems feeding and had struggled with reflux. He was also under the lights with jaundice. Like others said they can vary a lot. There was a 28 weeker next to him who was able to breath on her own and feed well but she could not maintain her temperature. My son is 6 now and he is exceptionally tall for his age. Looking back it was really hard having a baby in SCBU (since had two more! but the dedication from the staff is just amazing.

ComfyLeatherChair Tue 22-Jul-14 13:11:22

Ds1 was induced at 34 weeks due to a hind water leak earlier in pregnancy. He was 5 lbs, and needed c-pap for 3 days.
I was very intimidated by all the wires, feeding tube etc, and the constant alarms sounding
Will you get the opportunity to visit NNU before your c section? I think I would have gained a lot.
The nurses and Drs are amazing and supportive. I really feel for you doing the day by day writing bit- I remember it as being hell. And you have the added stress of your own op as well.
DS1 had horrible reflux for the first 6 months, and has a minor heart condition but he is a healthy, very tall 7 year old.

summerdreams Fri 25-Jul-14 20:08:42

just to let you know my son is still growing and staying in till his planned date at 34 weeks which is a relief can anyone tell me do i need to take to the hospital bottles, nappys and formula like a normal birth or isit a diffrent ball game with little ones in special care?

hellymelly Fri 25-Jul-14 20:18:23

I was almost 34 weeks when i was born, 3lb 11oz. my Dad said I had a head like an orange and I looked like a very small chicken plucked and ready to be cooked. <thanks Dad>. My DB was similarly unimpressed. I spent 6 weeks in an incubator (it was the 1960s) and then 6 weeks only allowed in the kitchen as it was the warmest room (pre central heating, Winter baby). But aside from projectile vomiting the formula, and gut issues now (coeliac, which I blame on the formula) I was and am completely fine.

Doraemon Fri 25-Jul-14 20:27:30

Hi, glad your son is staying put a little while longer :-)
SCBU will probably provide everything you need for feeding at first (and do ask about donor milk, it is great for their immature digestive system), a stash of tiny micro nappies would be helpful - not everywhere sells them, boots and mothercare usually have them and bigger supermarkets.
My 3 were all early but have no ongoing problems related to their prematurity:
DS1 32 weeks, 3lb9, 3 weeks Special Care
DS2 34 wk 3 days, 5lb 8oz, fed straight away, came home after 4 nights with me on transition ward. Very unusual for that gestation though....
DD 33wk 5 days, 4lb 10oz, 2 1/2 weeks in hospital (a few nights SCBU then with me on transition ward getting feeding sorted).
I would definitely ask to have a look round the neonatal unit talk to someone about what to expect. The BLISS website might also be helpful.

summerdreams Fri 19-Dec-14 02:37:31

Wow just looking back on this thread. Thanks for all the advise everyone gave. My son was born 33.5 a huge 5lb 7oz he went down to 4lb 10 was on a vent then on cpap small brain bleed but was home in just under 3 weeks on a feeding tube at home for a further 2 weeks and is now 4 months old and laying in his cot next to me and is now a massive 14lb although still going through some health problems from his prematurity has done brilliantly funny to look back I had no idea what was to come fshock

tiredvommachine Fri 19-Dec-14 03:12:25

Summerdreams I'm reading this thread at 31+6 as have been admitted with high bp and possible pre eclampsia and have had steroid injections in case of early delivery. Thank you for updating, glad things are working well for you and baby and hope your op went well x

Threeplus1 Fri 19-Dec-14 03:36:41

I think it's amazing what they can do for prem babies these days. 32 years ago I was born at 27 weeks and I've not suffered any ill health whatsoever (though I couldn't make any sounds when crying for the first couple of months and had a hole in my heart which healed itself).
Babies born after 30 weeks generally have excellent prospects. All the best!!!

summerdreams Sat 20-Dec-14 22:50:00

tiredvom poor you I remember the fear well. Your all ready at such a good gestation obviously the longer in the better but I hope u keep baby in till next year. The nicu is hard but in my situation is similar to yours in a baby a bit prem they'd rather have then a mother critical the drs know what they're doing and will keep the baby in Aslong as possible. Good luck and if u need to ask anything feel free flowers

minipie Sat 20-Dec-14 22:53:26

Hi summer, just saw your update, manycongratulations on your baby boy. Sounds like you had a very stressful time but glad to hear he's doing well.

tiredvommachine Sat 20-Dec-14 23:09:24

Thanks for replying summer I was discharged today from hospital to outpatient maternity care from Monday but luckily no signs of pre eclampsia developing at the moment but still very grateful the consultant treated me as well as he did in case it was going that way, such as giving me the steroid injections (btw-how Ouch!?). Baby seems fine and hopefully nifedipine will keep my BP where it should be and all being well, baby to be delivered 37-38 weeks which I can live with. Consultant also signed me off work to rest, which I'm very grateful for. Thank you again for your kind words and I hope things keep going well for you fsmile

BaffledSomeMore Sat 20-Dec-14 23:21:43

Hi Summer. Congrats on your ds smile
My 34 week ds had horrible reflux and the first 6 months were a bit of a horror. Once he was weaned and on the move he was sorted and at 4 he is absolutely one of the boys at pre school. Cool, active, smart and in possession of the cutest pleading look ever. smile

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