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Are you pregnant and your doctor has told you that your baby may be born prematurely? Have you just given birth prematurely? Advice from Charlotte Bouvard, founder and director of the SOS Préma association.

In France, 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year, which corresponds on average to 8% of births. We are talking about prematurity when the birth occurs before 37 weeks of gestation, or 35 weeks of pregnancy. “Within this global prematurity, we must distinguish a medium prematurity (from 33 SA to 36 SA + 6 days), a great prematurity (28 to 32 SA + 6 days) and one very prematurity (before 28 SA)“, specifies the association SOS Préma on its website. Most of the time, premature deliveries are not planned, and parents can quickly feel helpless. Between worry and guilt, how to overcome this ordeal and welcome your child in the best conditions? Charlotte Bouvard, founder of the SOS Préma association, gives us his advice *.

Know what to expect, learn about prematurity

In some cases, the premature birth is planned and the mother is referred to an adapted maternity ward. We then speak of “threat of premature laborCharlotte Bouvard then advises couples to get information from other parents, to take advice from a health professional, or even visit a newborné in order to better prepare for the baby’s arrival. Thus, parents can become aware of the medical environment (sensors, monitoring, probes, resuscitation …) while exchanging with the medical team who can reassure them about the care of the infant.

The presence of parents, essential for the child

As far as possible, “parents must rester most often alongside their newborn, because their presence is a real medicine for the child“, insists Charlotte Bouvard. Practicing skin to skin, breastfeeding, or even bringing a mattress to sleep with your baby are all positive things for the child.

A single room limits the risk of infections. According to a study published on January 7, 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the premature babies placed in incubators in single rooms would be less likely to contract an infection than if they were placed in a collective room. To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed 13 studies carried out on 4,800 babies born prematurely in specialized services. In these individual rooms, infants can thus be cared for in a healthy environment, and in which breastfeeding or even skin to skin is favored. “It is assumed that the fact of moving from one room to another encourages caregivers to respect more strictly the hygiene instructions“, declared Professor Jacques Sizun, head of the neonatal department at Morvan hospital (Brest).

Do not stay alone and confide

“It is a complicated passage in life since we give life, with a notion of death“, explains the director of the association, and the psychological repercussions are often present in mothers, most of whom have feelings of guilt. It is therefore essential to talk about it. “Above all, you shouldn’t keep the story quiet or say to yourself “it’s my fault”, but on the contrary, put words on his feelings“, she adds.”This premature birth will provoke contradictory emotions in parents: the joy of being parents coexists with anxiety about the health of their child, guilt tarnishes the happiness of being a mother. There are sweet times and times of doubt, frustration, anger“, explains Myriam Dannay, psychologist of the association.

Limit the impact on the couple

Parents experience the same things, but at different times, and sometimes a gap widens“, warns Charlotte Bouvard. Indeed, this trauma is put aside at the birth of the child given the urgency of the situation, and will be felt in a second time, upon arrival at home. In addition, each person reacts differently. “Women feel like they are not up to the job and it is not uncommon for them to have postpartum depression.“, she specifies. Couples must therefore listen to each other and discuss their feelings in order to move forward together for the good of their child.

Trust the medical team

Each child is unique. The main thing is to have complete confidence in the medical team which has the same objective as that of the parents: the well-being and the health of the baby“, recalls the director of the association, who herself gave birth to a premature baby, Maxence, now 14 years old and in good health.

Preparing for discharge from hospital

You apprehend arrival at home, where you will now be the only one to take care of your baby. But keep in mind that “doctors don’t take any risks and if they think your child can be discharged from the hospital, they know he will be safe “, reassures the association. Before discharge from the hospital, try to rest as much as possible so that you are in good shape for the rest. Do not hesitate to ask for help around you and conversely, to also tell them that you prefer not to have visitors.

What equipment should be provided for a premature baby?

  • Having a car seat reducer is essential for any trip by car.
  • In bed, the child must also be properly supported. Of course, avoid lint.
  • Also think about clothes adapted to his small size.
  • Finally, your child’s room must be ventilated regularly and at the right temperature.
  • In addition, if your baby was born before 32 weeks of amenorrhea and in particular if he had respiratory problems during the neonatal period, it is recommended to avoid the collective nursery, because of the risk of contamination from viruses.

Diapers for premature babies

Diapers suitable for premature babies. © Pampers

Remember that some manufacturers are starting to offer products suitable for premature babies. In particular, Pampers has designed a new range of diapers (the smallest in the world) to meet the specific needs of premature newborns. Called Pampers Preemie Protection, these mini-format diapers are available in three sizes P1 (<1.8 kg), P2 (<1kg) and P3 (<500g) and distributed in certain maternities. "This new layer rises less high and thus allows the umbilical cord to be freer and to remain dry, limiting the risk of infection “, had testified the neonatal resuscitation teams of the Rennes University Hospital, at the launch in November 2017. These diapers contain in particular: an absorbent mattress at the front and at the back to be able to change the baby without having to change his position; a narrower mattress at the crotch to promote proper positioning of the hips and legs; soft gates and soft materials, as well as detachable clips that can be completely removed and placed anywhere, to suit babies’ unique needs.

Find out more : www.sosprema.com. Hotline: 0811 886 888, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. * Interview in 2017

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