Premature babies:
survival and development

More than 90% of premature babies survive. And survival rates keep getting better as medical knowledge gets better.

Survival is affected by how premature a baby is. For example, moderately preterm babies are more likely to survive than extremely preterm babies. Babies born after only 23 weeks have a reasonable chance of survival – more than 50%.

The majority of preterm children develop normally. The longer your baby’s gestation, the less chance there is of any health or developmental concerns.

Babies who are born late preterm generally have no serious long-term problems.

Extremely premature babies (born at 28 weeks or less) have an increased risk of developmental problems. But even in extremely premature babies, severe developmental problems are still quite uncommon.

Premature birth

Pregnancy lasts an average of 40 weeks (normally between 38 and 42 weeks). A premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks. So a baby born at 36 weeks and 6 days is officially premature.

The degree of prematurity is often described by gestational age as:

extremely premature – from 23-28 weeks
very premature – 28-32 weeks
moderately premature – 32-36 weeks
late preterm – 36-37 weeks.

The information contained on this web site is only for informational purposes. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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