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FIZJOMED Katarzyna Kopeć
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Rehabilitation of Prematurely Born Babies – Preemies

PreemiesChildren born prematurely (irrespectively of the week of birth) are deprived, so to speak, of a similar development, apart from inside the womb, as children born on time. Lengthy hospitalization, innumerable amount of medical procedures which a child is submitted to and the vast amount of medical personnel, who take care of the prematurely born babies, are of no effect to the psychological and physical development of the child. The stress parents are placed under, due to frequent visits to various specialists, does not help improve the situation.

Before a child, in whom premature birth has been identified, encounters any rehabilitation, they have been through a “difficult period” inside the incubator, are after many medical treatments burdened with pain, stress and anxiety of what is happening with them and their body.

It is of up most importance for the physiotherapist to carefully observe the behavior of the prematurely born child, its model of spontaneous movements, how it reacts to the people in its vicinity e.g. the mother, how it is fed, how it sleeps, whether it is calm or more weepy and irritated; since often what becomes apparent as a psychomotor delay in such a child is in some measure it’s multisystemic immaturity. This means that it takes time for the body of the child to get accustomed to the surroundings (the home environment, the parents, and the people around them). In other words, the child must be given the time to develop the motor abilities it was deprived of at the moment of the premature birth.

Observation of its motor development is essential from the very beginning as it leaves the hospital and only after close observations of their spontaneous movements (method: Prechtla) can it determined whether the child requires a regular rehabilitation, NDT-Bobath method, or not. There is no reason to delay a control visit considering an overlooked first symptom, e.g. hyper- or hypotonia, can induce further irregularities in their positional asymmetry. It is not a rule but an attitude like “perhaps it will go away” may be misleading and the child, without the help of a therapist, may not be able to cope with proper and subsequent development such as rolling over, crawling or sitting up. Not every preemie requires such an approach, some children are able to cope with movement by themselves splendidly and come out from these difficulties unscathed.

Every child has an individual development and the worst thing that can be done is to generalize symptoms and aggregate all the possible indications into one bag. Let’s be vigilant! It’s better to react earlier and obtain a professional opinion than burden a child with a long term therapy.