What happens just after your premature baby is born

As soon as your baby is born, the healthcare team will make sure they are stable. This means keeping them warm and providing any extra support they need, depending on their individual needs.

Keeping your baby warm

Newborn babies get cold quickly and can’t maintain their own temperature. Your healthcare team will put a hat and warm blankets on your baby. Premature babies are more likely to get cold so the team may place them under a heater or on a heated mattress to help keep them warm.

Some babies born very small or very early are also placed inside a plastic wrap or bag up to the neck until they have been moved to an incubator.

Helping your baby breathe

The healthcare team will assess your baby’s breathing and support them to breathe if neccessary. Some babies need suction to remove any mucus or other fluid from the airway. If your baby needs help to breathe properly, the healthcare team may use oxygen or support breathing in other ways. For example, sometimes babies may need a breathing tube inserted into their lungs to help support their breathing.

Find out more about breathing support for premature babies.

Monitoring your baby’s heart rate

If your baby’s heart rate is low (less than 100 beats a minute), this may be a sign that they need help with their breathing. The healthcare team will give them a mix of air and oxygen through a mask or tube and monitor their improvement.

If your baby has a low heart rate, your healthcare team may give them check compressions to push blood to the heart. A small number of babies may also need medication to improve the circulation of blood around the body. Your healthcare will decide whether these are appropriate options for your baby and discuss these with you.

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