Every November 17 is World Premature Children’s Day, a date set to highlight the special needs these children have (those born before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy and/or weighing less than 1.5 kg) and to raise awareness about the importance of this fact. The Spanish Society of Neonatology pointed out that 7% of children born in our country are premature, while the WHO estimates that 15 million children are born in the world every year. Worldwide, prematurity is the leading cause of mortality in children under 5 years of age, according to this organization.
In conjunction with this anniversary, your CONMiGO centers, which specialize in developmental delay for children between 0 and 14 years of age, analyze the importance and benefits of early care to meet specific needs in cases of prematurity and to ensure that the newborn reaches all goals and milestones in its evolutionary development.
“If a child is born prematurely, they can show difficulties in any part of their development. The complications vary depending on the reasons for the prematurity (a premature child who is less than 28 weeks of pregnancy is not the same as one born before week 37) and may require specific or permanent intervention. What we can say is that, through early care, these complications are greatly reduced and that, thanks to neuroplasticity, children are able to develop, each at their own pace,” he explained. Juana Perezpedagogue is the director of Anda CONMiGO San Vicente del Raspeig.
Premature birth can lead to complications in the normal developmental processes of the newborn. The biggest problem usually occurs as changes in the development of the brain, especially if they are accompanied by cognitive and motor problems. Likewise, premature babies may have feeding and breathing difficulties, vision and hearing problems, learning difficulties, or different types of disabilities. They can also be sensitive to infections and are at risk of bleeding in the brain.
The procedure to be followed will be guided by the neonatology services of the hospital center, which will also establish early care therapies that best adapt to the needs of the minor. Actions can vary from positioning, splints, and feeding to parent education and changing the environment. In your CONMiGO, they emphasize that you can work with children from the time of birth, considering that the earlier the intervention starts, the greater progress can be made in the areas of development.
Benefits of Early Care
In these cases of prematurity, pediatric professionals remember that early stimulation is very beneficial in promoting physical and cognitive development.
Early care is a critical period from 0 to 6 years of age, with the period from 0 to 3 being particularly important in terms of cognitive, physical, and emotional development. The specialist assures that the brain at this age is full of cerebral synapses, and neuronal connections are essential for its development.
“In the centers of Anda CONMiGO, we work from an ecological perspective because the natural context is important. This means that our therapy is not only focused on the child, but we also serve the family; it is a triangular work between family, child, and professional. In this way, the multidisciplinary team, from different units of psychology, pedagogy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, designs the program and short-term goal, which implements the full monitoring of the therapy,” added Pérez.
Thus, thanks to this work, children develop in different areas of development, taking advantage of all synapses and neuronal connections, the result of professional stimulation.