Homeostasis control systems in preterm infants
The different organ systems are not fully functional in the preterm neonate, making the homeostasis mechanisms of the body unstable.
All the problems in the life of infants are noted to be more serious only in premature babies.
They can be classified under the following two headings: (1) certain organ systems are incomplete and (2) various hormone control systems are unstable. Because of these effects, premature babies rarely survive if they are born more than 3 months prematurely.
The various organ systems are not fully functional in the preterm neonate, making the homeostasis mechanisms of the body unstable. For example, the acid-base balance can vary greatly, especially when the ratio of food intake changes over time. Likewise, blood protein levels are often low because the liver is not fully developed, often leading to oedema due to hypoproteinaemia. New-borns are not able to regulate blood calcium levels leading to hypocalcaemia tetany. Likewise, blood glucose levels can vary widely from 20 to more than 100 mg/dl, depending mainly on the timing of feeding. Given the dramatic changes in the endogenous environment of the preterm infant, it is not surprising that mortality is high in infants born more than 3 months premature.
Unstable body temperature. One of the special problems of premature babies is their inability to regulate body temperature. The body temperature of premature babies tends to be equal to the ambient temperature. At normal room temperature, a baby's temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) can stabilize as low as 90 or even 80. Studies show that body temperature is stabilized below 96oF (33.5 degrees Celsius) ) are associated with a particularly high mortality rate, which explains the almost mandatory use of incubators when caring for premature infants.