Just in time for Prematurity Awareness Month this November, Pampers has introduced the first-ever flat diaper, specifically designed for premature babies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one in 10 babies are born premature each year, meaning they're delivered before reaching 37 weeks of gestation.
Since these infants are often born too small to fit into regular diapers and/or are much too sensitive to wear one at all, finding a viable solution has always been a big challenge for new parents of preemies.
Amy Wiford, a Pampers Nurse Specialist who has been a NICU nurse for 10 years, explained to Parents.com that "because a premature baby still needs to develop, it is important that he or she sleeps with minimal environmental stimulation, such as noise and light — or ill-fitting diapers." She added, "It is also important to support proper developmental positioning, with less disruption via minimal handling."
That's why Pampers created a flat diaper. Although it might sound odd, it's actually super practical for a preemie since the diaper is designed to lay under the infant rather than wrapped around them. This helps avoid overstimulation and, as Parents.com notes, allows medical workers to easily access the infant for treatment, such as when using therapeutic lights to treat a baby for jaundice.
Additionally, clothes of any kind, including diapers, can pose a potential risk to premature babies, as they can accidentally knock feeding tubes or IVs that the infant may be using.
This isn't the first time Pampers has tried to accommodate premature babies with their diapers. In a press release, brand manager Erica Bardeau, of North America Baby Care, P&G, said: "In 2002, we were the first major diaper manufacturer to create a diaper for premature babies. Since then, we have developed numerous innovations, including diapers ranging from size P1 to P3 for micro-preemies, to care for all babies, even the littlest fighters."
For Prematurity Awareness Month, Pampers will donate a box of flat diapers to every NICU in the U.S., in partnership with March of Dimes, an organization that advocates for preemies.
According to BabyCenter Canada, premature births have increased over the years. Women who are expecting multiples are more likely to give birth early, but other risk factors include a previous premature birth, too much amniotic fluid, and womb or cervix abnormalities.
Statistics Canada also reports that preemies appear to be more prevalent among older moms, specifically aged 35 to 49.
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