ABC of preterm birth: Immediate care of the preterm infant
Preparing appropriately for the delivery and immediate care of the preterm infant is essential when time permits and may impact on the eventual outcome for the infant. This article describes the skills and equipment needed for the care and possible resuscitation of these vulnerable babies. The support and advice needed by parents and families at this time is also explored.
When preterm delivery can be anticipated there may be an opportunity for paediatric staff to discuss intrapartum and postnatal care with prospective parents and colleagues from midwifery and obstetrics. Even if detailed discussion is not possible, relevant historical details should be taken to anticipate problems and prepare appropriately for the arrival of the preterm infant.
Broadly, the level of resuscitation that may be needed is inversely related to the gestation of the preterm infant. Usually, the approach taken in resuscitating preterm infants of > 32 completed weeks' gestation is the