Preterm Birth

I am a 196 days / 6 months, 2 weeks & 2 days old baby

Preterm birth refers to the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age. Premature birth, commonly used as a synonym for preterm birth, refers to the birth of a premature infant. Because it is by far the most common cause of prematurity, preterm birth is the major cause of neonatal mortality in developed countries. Premature infants are at greater risk for short and long term complications, including disabilities and impediments in growth and mental development.

Significant progress has been made in the care of premature infants, but not in reducing the prevalence of preterm birth. The cause for preterm birth is in many situations elusive and unknown; many factors appear to be associated with the development of preterm birth, making the reduction of preterm birth a challenging proposition.[1]

Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks. Babies born between 37 and 42 completed weeks of pregnancy are called full term. Babies born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy are called premature. In the United States, about 12.8 percent of babies (more than half a million a year) are born prematurely. The rate of premature birth has increased by 36 percent since the early 1980s.

Premature birth is a serious health problem. Premature babies are at increased risk for newborn health complications, such as breathing problems, and even death. Most premature babies require care in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), which has specialized medical staff and equipment that can deal with the multiple problems faced by premature infants.[2]

[1] Wikipedia