A Week-by-Week Premature Baby Guide- 23 Weeks through 25 Weeks Gestation

A quick peek at 23 weeks through 25 weeks gestation

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Baby Liam born at 25 weeks.

When a baby is born prematurely they face a world that is far from this perfect womb environment. They must now grow in a new and foreign place called the Neonatal Intensive Care. The earlier a baby is born, the more complicated the journey may be. A baby born in the 24th week will be a lot smaller and require a lot more complex medical intervention and care than a baby that is born in the 34thweek of pregnancy.

Twenty Three Weeks (23)

Babies born at 23 weeks gestation have approximately a 17 percent chance of survival. At this date, 23 weeks is considered the lowest age of viability outside the womb. The term micro-preemie is used to describe a baby born at 23 weeks. Babies born at this time will be covered in a fine thin hair medically termed lanugo. The eyes will typically be fused shut, but they will have fully developed eyelashes and eyebrows. The tiny fingernails have formed, but their skin is thin and very vulnerable. These babies do not have any brown fat yet so they will be very tiny and often weigh less than 500 grams. The 23 weeker is growing a sensitivity to sounds and will be familiar with your voice, however, loud sounds are over stimulating and can be overbearing to their underdeveloped neurological system. Most of the body’s systems are immature, including the lungs. The lower airways are only beginning to develop, so respiratory support will be needed in order to survive.

A long and often complicated NICU stay awaits the baby born at 23 weeks gestation.

Twenty Four Weeks (24)

Approximately 39 percent of premature babies born at 24 weeks gestation will survive delivery. The term micro-preemie is used to describe a baby born in the 24th week of pregnancy. Babies born at this time will often have fused eyes but will have fully developed eyebrows and eyelashes.

The toenails are also fully formed. Their skin is very thin, sensitive and vulnerable to touch. 24 weekers are born before they develop the brown fat to keep them warm and protected and often weigh less than 600 grams at birth. Most of the body’s systems are underdeveloped. Although they can hear and recognize your voice, loud sounds are over stimulating to their neurological system. Their lung walls are beginning to secret surfactant; a surface activated fat on their lungs necessary for breathing. However, the lungs of the baby born at 24 weeks remain underdeveloped making them susceptible to injury and will be dependent on respiratory support in order to survive. A long and often complicated NICU stay awaits the preemie born at 24 weeks gestation.

Twenty Five Weeks (25)

Babies born at 25 weeks gestation have approximately a 50% chance of survival. The term micro-preemie is used to describe the preemie born at 25 weeks. Babies born at this gestation will generally weigh less than 700 grams.

Babies born at this time will often have fused eyes but will have fully developed eyebrows and eyelashes. The toenails are also fully formed. Their skin is very thin, sensitive and vulnerable to touch. Although most of their development has taken place by 25 weeks, their nervous system is still very immature. The lung walls have started to produce small amounts of surfactant; a surface activated fat on their lungs necessary for breathing.  However, the lungs of the baby born at 25 weeks remain underdeveloped making them susceptible to injury and will likely be dependent on respiratory support in order to survive. These micro-preemies often face long NICU stays and could have complicated health issues related to their prematurity.

**The information provided in this series is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Keep in mind that this information is a general guideline. No two babies are alike, and no two NICU journeys are the same, and, for this reason, there may be variations in the timing, progression, and statistical information of each individual baby**

Sources:

Retrieved from http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1266&context=gs_rp

Retrieved from http://www.nann.org/uploads/Age-Appropriate_Care-FINAL_11-01-11.pdf

Core measures for developmentally supportive care in neonatal intensive care units: theory, precedence and practice - Coughlin - 2009 - Journal of Advanced Nursing - Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.05052.x/full

Growing Home- Preemie Developmental Care in the NICU. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.peekabooicu.net/2011/09/growing-home-preemie-developmental-care-in-the-nicu/

The Importance of Sleep and the Premature Baby. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.peekabooicu.net/2012/11/the-importance-of-sleep-and-the-premature-baby/

Level of NICU Quality of Developmental Care and Neurobehavioral Performance in Very Preterm Infants. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/5/e1129.full

The Profile of a Preemie: The Senses and Your Premature Baby. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.peekabooicu.net/2013/02/the-profile-of-a-preemie/

Premature Birth Statistics | Statistic Brain. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/premature-birth-statistics/

Understanding Preemie Development: Meriter Health Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.meriter.com/services/newborn-intensive-care-unit/understanding-and-parenting-your-preemie/understanding-preemie-development

What can I do for my baby while in the NICU? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://preemies.about.com/od/Preemie-Parents/ss/Parenting-your-Preemie-in-the-Neonatal-Intensive-Care.htm

Your Preemie’s Special Language. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.peekabooicu.net/2014/05/your-preemies-special-language/

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