About Premature Infants

A premature infant is an infant born prior to 36 weeks gestation. (Full term infants are born between 38 and 42 weeks.)

According to the Institutes of Medicine, “12.5 percent of births in the United States were preterm, at less than 37 weeks gestation” (2005), however data from a May 2010 CDC report shows that "following a long period of fairly steady increase, the U.S. preterm birth rate declined for the second straight year in 2008 to 12.3 percent, from 12.8 percent in 2006."

 

 

 

 

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Babies born prematurely often face a variety of medical or developmental challenges that range from temporary and mild to lifelong and serious depending on the severity of the prematurity and any complications they may have encountered. 

Prematurity can be caused by a number of factors including maternal smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, drug use, or physical stress. Other factors that may increase the odds of a premature delivery include multiple fetuses, maternal age over 35 or under 19, certain pregnancy complications, and a history of miscarriage and preterm birth. For some premature births, the cause is unknown and may be quite unexpected.

Many premature infants often require hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) which is a special nursery designed to provide more intense medical care and a non-stressful environment for infants who may still be quite sensitive to lights and sounds allowing them to grow and develop. As a result of recent advances in medicine, more of even the smallest premature babies now survive.

To help families who experience a premature birth, PreemieCare offers the following:

If you have experienced a premature birth, you’ve come to the right place and you are not alone. Visit our Then and Now Photo Gallery to see other families’ inspirational stories.

PreemieCare
P.O. Box 306
(631) 859-1110
East Islip, NY 11730
info@preemiecare.org