Preterm Babies – Born Before The 37th Week

Preterm Babies – Born Before The 37th Week

There are about fifteen million babies born premature every year.  That is about one in every ten babies are born too soon. A premature birth is when a baby is born before the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy.  If you have a premature baby your stay in the hospital may be longer, and depending on how early your baby came may mean that they need to stay in the NICU, Neonatal intensive care unit.  The time a baby has to stay in the NICU will vary from case to case, depending on how early the baby is born. 

 

Potential Causes

 

Though prematurity is so common, there isn’t always an exact reason as to why some babies are born early.  There are some things that make the chance of premature birth more likely. If the mother is younger than seventeen or older than thirty-five there is a higher chance of having a premature birth.  Other things that could cause a premature birth are having high blood pressure, having diabetes, or having kidney disease before you become pregnant. If you have had multiple miscarriages or abortions you have a higher chance of having a premature birth too.  If you became pregnant from in-vitro fertilization you have a higher chance as well. Previous premature births can cause you to have future premature births. If you are pregnant with multiples, such as twins or triplets you may have a premature birth. If the mother has problems with her uterus, cervix, or placenta this can lead to pregnancy complications and premature birth being one of them.  Other risks are if you don’t stop smoking or taking illegal drugs, if you have an infection of the amniotic fluid, if you were underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant, or if you experience physical injury or stress. Some people though who have premature births have none of these underlying issues or risk factors as to why their baby was born early. 

 

Tiers of Prematurity

 

There are tiers of prematurity.  The most common one is called late term premature birth which is a baby born between the thirty-fourth and thirty-sixth weeks of pregnancy.  The next one is moderately preterm, is between thirty-two weeks and thirty-four weeks. The next tier is very preterm which is when a baby is born anytime less than week thirty-two.  Extremely preterm the last tier is when a baby is born at or before week twenty-five.  

 

Signs

 

If you have a premature baby there are some signs of prematurity that may be noticeable.  The main sign of prematurity is the small size of your baby. The ba