Baby Born at 35 Weeks: Causes, Risks and Care Tips

Baby Born at 35 Weeks: Causes, Risks and Care Tips

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

After your pregnancy, bringing your little one home is the next exciting step in your life. However, due to various reasons, sometimes your baby may be born earlier than what is deemed ‘normal’. Your baby may be born at 35 weeks. Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are termed premature. As these babies aren’t fully developed, certain measures need to be taken for their survival. Don’t worry, as these babies, too, can lead a very fulfilling and healthy life. There can be many reasons for premature childbirth, which may be linked to the baby or the mother. But, first, let’s understand what causes premature childbirth and what it means to have a 35 week born baby. 

What Does A Baby Look Like At 35 Weeks?

A baby born at 35 weeks usually looks like a normal newborn. Being 5 weeks early, their skin still looks normal, however, their internal organs are still developing. 

What Happens When Your Baby Is Born At 35 Weeks?

Your baby will be considered to be a late-term premie and hence would be more stable than those born earlier. Unless your baby needs to be in the NICU, you should have enough skin-to-skin to help you bond with your little one. 

What Are the Causes of Childbirth at 35 Weeks?

Some reasons why a premature delivery may happen are:

  • The mother is carrying twins or triplets.
  • The cervix is short.
  • The uterus has septum or is small in size.
  • There are issues involving the placenta separation.
  • The mother consumes drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes during pregnancy.
  • The onset of illness can also trigger a delivery.

Complications Faced By Babies Born at 35 Weeks

Some complications that premature babies face are:

1. Jaundice

In premature babies, certain organs remain underdeveloped. One of these is the spleen. It cannot process the red blood cells as effectively as it should. This poses the risk of jaundice. If left untreated, jaundice starts affecting the brain and leads to further complications.

2. Infections

Premature babies don’t receive antibodies from their mother. This makes it difficult for them to battle harmful bacteria and viruses. Additionally, they also have lower body weight. If medical procedures are conducted, the risk of infections only increases.

3. Feeding Problems

Although sucking and swallowing are reflexes, a premature baby may fail to carry them out properly.

4. Breathing Problems

The lungs remain underdeveloped and lack a lubricant covering their tissues called surfactant.  This lubricant is essential since it prevents the tissues from sticking to each other when they expand and contract while breathing. Weak lung muscles lead to painful respiration.

5. Issues With Weight Gain

Premature infants weigh less than 2 kgs at birth. Low birth weight in addition to feeding problems could result in issues with weight gain.

6. Unsteady Body Temperature

The ideal body weight and percentage of body fat are essential to keep the baby safe by keeping the internal heat levels at the right temperature. The absence of fat leads to hypothermia and makes incubators or warm electric beds necessary.

Risk Factors For A Baby Born At 35 Weeks

At 35 weeks, there are some risk factors and signs that you need to be aware of. Here are some factors of a baby born at 35 weeks:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Low levels of blood sugar 
  • Difficulty with feeding
  • Apnea
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of their eyes 
  • Seizures
  • Hypothermia
  • An increased rate of hospital visits post initial discharge

Treatment for Preemies Born at 35 Weeks

Healthcare specialists will provide treatment in the following ways:

1. Use Alarms and Baby Monitors

Doctors will make keep the baby under observation and monitor his vitals including blood pressure, temperature, oxygen, breathing rhythm, and so on. Any dissonance is linked to an alarm that can inform the doctors to take corrective action immediately.

2. Provide Respiratory Support

If the infant is breathing well and needs additional oxygen, this is provided via nasal prongs. If the oxygen levels are drastically low, a BiPAP machine is used. This forces air into the baby’s lungs every time he breathes. If the baby’s lungs fail to function properly due to lack of surfactant, he will be put on a ventilator.

3. Use UV Radiation

If the premature infant contracts jaundice, UV light rays are used. These rays mimic the functioning of the liver and break down red blood cells. Additional fluids might be supplied to take care of any toxins that might be produced.

A newborn gets the light therapy treatment

4. Supply Food Via a Tube

If the baby isn’t feeding properly, make use of a tube that directly enters a baby’s stomach. This makes sure the breast milk or formula reaches the baby properly and is digested well to help him gain weight rapidly.

5. Promote Skin-to-Skin Contact

Incubators and electric beds keep the body temperature steady. However, skin-to-skin contact with the mother reassures the baby and strengthens the bonding between the two.

How to Take Care of Your Premature Baby at Home

Premature babies require more attention and care, especially at home. Here are some useful tips:

  • Refrain from taking the baby outside in winter.
  • Follow a strict feeding schedule to promote weight gain.
  • Let your baby sleep in your room.
  • Understand the procedure of administering CPR to an infant.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions to the hospital staff or your doctor.

Does A 35-Week Born Baby Have To Stay In NICU?

Not all 35-week-born babies have to stay in the NICU. It depends according to the condition of the baby and the mother. Some hospitals prefer keeping the baby in the NICU, whilst some prefer keeping the baby with the mother. 

What is the Survival Rate of a Baby Born at 35 Weeks?

99% of all babies born at 35 weeks survive. So, there’s nothing to worry about.

Can A Baby Born At 35 Weeks Be Healthy?

The short answer is yes! A baby born at 35 weeks can lead a healthy and fulfilling life, just like any other full term baby. 

Although a baby born at 35 weeks resembles a full-term one, he’s still premature and needs the right support to grow. Having the right information makes sure your baby is healthy and happy!

Also Read: Preterm Labour – Causes, Signs and Treatment

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