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What is prematurity?
Neonatal period is the first 28-day of the life. This period is significant especially for the harmony of respiration and circulation system. Average 1.5 million deliveries occur a year in our country and 10% of these deliveries are premature in other words, premature babies. 

Babies being born before the time in other words before completing week 37 are admitted as “premature”. The earlier the baby is born, the more the risk is. The most frequently asked 2 questions to understand the risk are as follows;

 • Birth week of the baby 
 • Birth weight 

Babies being born 2 weeks earlier to the time are called as the liminal premature. Most of these babies don’t have problems. They try to accommodate themselves to the life beside their mothers without treatment at intensive care unit.  

Babies being born at week 30-34 are called as “Classical premature”. We host them at intensive care for a while. They meet their mothers after they are with us for 2-3 weeks.

“Advanced premature babies” are born at week 26-30. They experience the disease specific to prematurity at different levels. They should be followed up meticulously following a long-term hospitalization. 

“Premature babies at the border of life” are the 24-26 week- babies having completed fetal period in mother’s womb recently, organs of whom have formed but not developed adequately. The chance of living for these babies is very limited.

Why is the neonatal care unit significant? 
Neonatal intensive care units are the service where cares and treatments of premature babies being born prior to 34. Gestational week and following this week. Increase of multiple pregnancies with fast developing assisted reproductive techniques result in especially increase of preterm delivery and need of neonatal intensive care services. Making the premature babies being born at 23-23 gestational weeks and being 500 g and below shows the significance of neonatal intensive care units.

What is the significance of human milk for premature babies?
The first vaccine of the premature baby is the milk called “colostrum” given by its mother on the first days. This milk improves the immune system from the first day. Accordingly, harmful microbes cannot pass through intestine and make the baby ill. The risk of hospital infection, enteric disease of premature babies fed by human milk reduces (necrotising enterocolitis). The baby may be discharged earlier. Higher protein is necessary for the premature baby. Protein values in the milk of mother of premature baby is higher. Mother’s system is programmed to grow and develop the baby.