Prematurity: Basic Facts About Prematurity

Theme : Basic Facts About Prematurity By Dr. Chudi Ufondu.


1. A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby is due.

2. A premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy.

3. Normally, a pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks.

4. Although the exact cause of preterm birth is often unknown

5. Premature birth gives the baby less time to develop in the womb

6. Premature babies, especially those born earliest, often have complicated medical problems.

7. Premature birth is a complex problem with no single solution

8. About 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States

9. In about half of cases, the cause is unknown

10. Most premature births occur in the late preterm stage.

11. For unknown reasons, black women are more likely to experience premature birth than are women of other races

12. But premature birth can happen to anyone.

13. Many women who have a premature birth have no known risk factors.


· Late preterm, born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy

· Moderately preterm, born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy

· Very preterm, born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy

· Extremely preterm, born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy


1. Small size, with a disproportionately large head

2. Sharper looking, less rounded features

3. Fine hair (lanugo) covering much of the body

4. Low body temperature, especially immediately after birth in the delivery room, due to a lack of stored body fat

5. Labored breathing or respiratory distress

6. Lack of reflexes for sucking and swallowing, leading to feeding difficulties


1. Having a previous premature birth

2. Pregnancy with twins, triplets or other multiples

3. An interval of less than six months between pregnancies

4. Conceiving through in vitro fertilization

5. Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta

6. Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs

7. Poor nutrition

8. Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy

9. Some infections, particularly of the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract

10. Some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes

11. Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy

12. Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or domestic violence

13. Multiple miscarriages or abortions

14. Physical injury or trauma



1. Breathing problems.

2. Heart problems

3. Brain problems.

4. Temperature control problems

5. Gastrointestinal problems.

6. Treating preterm labor

7. Blood problems

8. Metabolism problems.

9. Immune system problems


1. Cerebral palsy , brain disorders

2. Impaired cognitive skill

3. Vision problems

4. Hearing problems.

5. Dental problems

6. Behavioral and psychological problems.

7. Chronic health issues.


1. At the hospital, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) provides round-the-clock care for your premature baby.

2. Supportive care

3. Being placed in an incubator.

4. Monitoring of your baby’s vital sign

5. Having a feeding tube

6. Replenishing fluids.

7. Spending time under bilirubin lights.

8. Receiving a blood transfusion

9. Medications

10. Surgery


1. Although the exact cause of preterm birth is often unknown, there are some things that can be done to help women

2. Progesterone supplements:Women who have a history of preterm birth, a short cervix or both factors may be able to reduce the risk of preterm birth with progesterone.

3. Cervical cerclage: This is a surgical procedure that helps prevent premature birth in women pregnant with only one baby who have a history of premature birth or who have a short cervix or both.

4. Eat a healthy diet even before you get pregnant

5. Calcium supplements

6. Daily low-dose aspirin.

7. Cervical pessary. Women pregnant with just one baby who have a short cervix may reduce their risk of premature birth with a cervical pessary. A pessary is a silicone device that fits around the cervix and may help support the uterus.

8. Reduce chemical exposure. Exposure to phthalates — chemicals used to manufacture many products such as plastic, canned foods, cosmetics, nail polish and hairspray — is associated with a higher risk of premature birth



~ Dr. Chudi Ufondu.

Culled From: Mayo Clinic

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Updated: December 28, 2018 — 10:15 am

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