How is Prematurity Diagnosed?

Prematurity is diagnosed by the gestational age of the fetus. The term gestational age means how many weeks the baby has been growing inside its mother. A full term pregnancy is 37 to 42 weeks. Those babies born between 34 and 37 weeks are known as late preterm births. Babies born between 32 and 34 weeks are known as moderately preterm. The very littlest babies are born between 28 and 32 weeks, and even some at less than 28 weeks. These are known as very preterm babies. They are very small and may not be ready to survive outside the womb. The baby will be taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for specialized care and treatment of any health problems.

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Resources:

Centers for Disease Control
Premature Birth

American Academy of Pediatrics
Premie Milestones Brochure

Kids Health
A Primer on Premies

March of Dimes
About Prematurity

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Preterm Labor and Birth