Prematurity Treatment

Treatment for each individual premature baby depends on that particular baby’s health concerns. While your baby is in the NICU, the health care team will use a variety of treatments to keep your baby healthy and thriving. Once your baby goes home, treatment will depend on any specific needs your baby may have.

What are the Medical Treatment Options?

Some of the medical treatment options that are used for complications of prematurity include:

  • Antibiotics or antiviral drugs to help treat infections
  • Blood transfusions to treat anemia or jaundice
  • Surfactant and  oxygen to help prevent lung damage
  • Equipment such as monitors, ventilators and incubators to help warming and breathing

What are the Surgical Treatment Options?

Some of the surgical treatment options that are used for complications of prematurity include:

  • Inserting a tube into the ventricular system of the brain to reduce fluid buildup in the case of bleeding (IVH)
  • Surgery to close the ductus artery to prevent heart failure
  • Surgery to remove damage sections of the intestine in cases of severe enterocolitis
  • Laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) to preserve vision in cases of severe retinopathy

What are the Non-Medical Treatment Options?

As your baby’s health stabilizes, the focus turns to optimize his/her growth, nutrition, and development. There are different types of interventions that can be used depending on your baby’s degree of prematurity, medical issues, age and developmental challenges. Interventions that may include:

  • Special formulas and feeding techniques to optimize nutrition
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Vision and hearing aids

Find Support

What can I expect expect now that my child has been born prematurely?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to fellow parents, caregivers, and experts about the challenges facing your child.

 

Resources:

Centers for Disease Control
Premature Birth

American Academy of Pediatrics
Premie Milestones Brochure

Kids Health
A Primer on Premies

March of Dimes
About Prematurity

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Preterm Labor and Birth