As wonderful as it is to feel your baby move inside you, sometimes it can be uncomfortable. As your baby grows there is less and less room for him to move around, especially as he kicks or stretches against the walls of your uterus. These movements can vary from gentle paddling motions to feeling as though the baby has hiccups. Sometimes the baby will kick hard; if it's under the ribs it can take your breath away and leave you feeling quite sore. The kicking can also wake you when you're sleeping, and many women say that their babies are more active at night. If you're sitting or lying in a position that the baby doesn't like-for example, if you spend too much time on one side-your baby may well kick until you move.
Although sometimes these movements can be uncomfortable or take you by surprise, most of the time they're just a gentle reminder of your growing baby and, as such, are something to look forward to feeling.
Your baby doesn't need a blanket or pillow-in fact, experts advise against them. To reduce your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), put a fitted sheet on a firm crib mattress (don't use a second-hand mattress), and keep blankets, pillows and stuffed animals out of the crib. If your baby sleeps in a Moses basket or bassinet, you should buy sheets designed specifically for these. Keep the room at a temperature that feels good to you. If you're concerned that your baby is chilly, consider a sleep sack. Many parents find them to be comfortable for their baby.
Until relatively recently, babies born before 28 weeks' gestation often did not survive. Today, with medical advances in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), babies of 22 weeks' gestation have survived outside the uterus, although this is still very rare. At many hospitals, doctors won't resuscitate a baby under 24 weeks, because there is little chance of survival.
Extremely premature babies have an increased risk of disability, even with the best medical care, and often the delivery itself can put an enormous strain on the baby. Very experienced doctors and nurses are involved in the care of extremely premature babies.
If possible, the delivery should take place in a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (see Neonatal Intensive Care Babies). If this isn't possible, babies are often transferred to a special center when they are stable enough to be moved. Very premature babies take a long time to "catch up" and meet developmental milestones.
Each day and week of pregnancy is a milestone, and the closer to full term (37-42 weeks) you deliver, the better it is for your baby.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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