What is prematurity?

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Prematurity is when a child is born before the 37th week of gestation. Every year 15 million babies are born prematurely in the world. Of these, many survive without any sequelae, others do so with more or less serious sequelae, and some die.

Research into this field is always advancing, both in terms of scientific knowledge and technological developments, and there is increasing emphasis placed on the influence the environment has on these patients. It is well known that the family plays a fundamental role in the care and development of the premature neonate. For this reason, the team is multidisciplinary and comprises the family in addition to healthcare personnel, with care being focused on development.

Premature birth explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
We now know that the family has a vital role in their care and development. For this reason, we work as a multidisciplinary team which includes the family and the healthcare professionals.
You can’t imagine a child so small surviving.

Being premature means having been born early. According to the most currently accepted definition, all children born before 37 weeks of gestation are considered premature.

Types of prematurity

Being born before pregnancy has reached term, means all the organs and systems are less mature, and there is a greater incidence of pathologies that can cause the organs to develop incorrectly.

Logically, the fewer the weeks of gestation the premature baby has had when it is born, the more problems it may suffer. In addition, these are usually more serious and can have more long-term consequences.

There is no universal classification, but that shown below is currently the most widely accepted:

  • Extremely preterm. Born before 28 weeks of gestation. Fortunately, this sub-group only accounts for 1-2% of all live births.
  • Very preterm newborns. Born between weeks 29 and 31,6 of gestation.

These groups constitute approximately 20% of all premature births. They have the most serious short- and long-term health problems, greater mortality, and require the most financial support, healthcare time, and research resources in neonatology.

  • Moderately preterm. Born between weeks 32 and 34,6 of gestation.
  • Late preterm. Born between weeks 35 and 36,6 of gestation.

Substantiated information by:

Ana Herranz Barbero
Erika Sánchez Ortíz
Maria Teresa Cobo Cobo
Marta Arnal Ahulló
Mª Dolors Salvia Roiges

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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