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Care of late-preterm preemies may be insufficient
Date:1/3/2011

pital than those who spent time in the NICU.

"These findings show that late-preterm infants need specialized care. They should not be released in less than 48 hours after birth and need to be in a NICU or monitored closely in a Level 1 Newborn Nursery. Closely monitoring these babies will help to identify potential complications early on and may prevent subsequent readmission," said Shahid.

In response to these findings Loyola University Hospital's Birth Center has created a protocol for the management and care of late-preterm infants. All infants born less than 35 weeks' gestation are monitored in the NICU. Clinically stable infants between 35 and 37 weeks' gestation are admitted to the newborn nursery where they are closely monitored for respiratory distress, hypothermia, low blood sugar, jaundice and feeding difficulties.

The new protocol includes:

  • Nurses checking vital signs at hour one, two and four immediately after birth and then every four hours for the first 24 hours.
  • The volume and duration of feedings also are closely monitored. Lactation consultants assist in monitoring mothers who wish to breastfeed. The infant's weight is taken daily to help track feeding changes. If weight loss is greater than 7 percent from birthweight a change will be made in regard to feeding.
  • Late-preterm infants will remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours and until the following criteria are met:
    • Good temperature regulation
    • Stable blood sugar
    • Adequate feeding for 24 hours
    • Stable vital signs for 12 hours preceding discharge
    • Weight loss of no more than 7 percent of birthweight
  • A follow-up visit with a physician will be scheduled for 24-48 hours after hospital discharge.

"It is imperative for us to recognize the complications and risks to these special patients and do all we can to ensure they are safe and healthy when they go home," said Shahid.

The pediatric and obs
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Contact: Evie Polsley
epolsley@lumc.edu
708-216-5313
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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