Every year 15 million premature babies are born in the world. In Spain, one in 13 babies is born prematurely, that is, before the 40th week of gestation, when a full-term baby is considered.
The viable limits of prematurity are between 22 and 25 weeks of gestation. Extreme premature babies are those who are below 28 weeks. Very premature babies, between 28 and 31. Moderate prematurity at 32 and 33 weeks. Late preterm infants, from 34 to 37 weeks. And post-term babies, if they were born beyond the 42nd week.
The Spanish Society of Neonatology (seNeo) has created the Decalogue for the care of the premature newborn with the aim “not only of achieving outstanding survival, but also the highest possible quality of life with the lowest risk of subsequent physical and mental problems”, emphasizes Dr. Sánchez Luna, president of seNeo.
“Premature babies must be cared for by specialized and experienced personnel, with all the technological means available to us and in the best hospital facilities,” the doctor told EFE Salud.
Decalogue of neonatology for the premature baby
1. Encourage mothers at risk of premature birth to be referred to perinatal centers specialized in assisting premature births, where mother and child can be cared for in the same center, avoiding their separation and transfer.
2. Have an adequate number of staff, with specialized personnel to guarantee a level of care based on scientific evidence 24 hours a day, providing up-to-date technological assistance and information tools.
3. Guarantee continuous training and updating of all professionals involved in the care of premature infants and their families, from maternity to follow-up after hospital discharge.
4. Favor the establishment of the bond of the newborn with his family from birth, promoting care focused on development and family and the kangaroo mother method, promoting the role of mothers and fathers as primary caregivers during admission and ensuring their access during 24 hours a day.
5. Encourage shared decision-making between professionals and families. Offer and provide psychological, psychiatric and/or social support to families .
6. Provide optimal individualized nutritional care to each premature newborn, taking breastfeeding from the mother herself as the first option and, in her absence, donated.
7. Guarantee a safety culture regarding the use of medicines, health products, infection prevention and patient identification, as well as define health indicators and tools for measuring the quality of care.
8. Ensure the implementation of a specialized neonatal monitoring program for premature infants at risk of alterations in their development.
9. Promote pre and postnatal research and the development of clinical guidelines and protocols to standardize clinical practice, based on scientific evidence.
10. Develop national and international networking tools that allow the massive use of data, promoting the practice of predictive and precision medicine.
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