How Preemies Can Benefit from Pediatric Therapy

My name is Kelsey Idom and I’m a physical therapist at Building Futures. I’m here to talk about premature births, and how pediatric therapy can address a range of issues that often crop up for that child.

A premature birth is defined as any birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy. The majority of times, when a baby is born early, they’ll need extra care and assistance to adapt to their new world.

What Are Some Health Issues with Preemies?

Not all premature babies will have health complications, but being born early can sometimes cause short and/or long-term health complications. In general, the risk of complications increases the earlier a baby is born. One of the biggest obstacles we see with premature babies is in their muscle tone.

Muscle tone is the amount of tension inside of muscle. This occurs due to underdevelopment of the neurological systems. Some babies are born with high muscle tone, which causes very rigid movements, while other babies can be born with low tone, which presents as very slow movements or weakness.

How Can Pediatric Therapy Help a Preemie?

Some ways we may be able to help your premature baby is if they have difficulty with feeding or sensory regulation. These can be addressed with speech and/or occupational therapy.

Physical therapy can also help them reach the vital milestones that babies need in their first year of life. This includes “tummy time” tolerance, rolling, crawling, and eventually walking.

Contact Building Futures for More Information

There are many ways in which we can help premature children reach their full potential. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call in Monroe at (318) 388-8414 or in Ruston at (318) 255-7550.

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