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How baby's gestation affects their health and survival

How baby's gestation affects their health and survival


If your baby is born prematurely, or your caregiver is suggesting that delivering your baby preterm is recommended, then one of the most common concerns for parents is "Will my baby(s) be alright and will they survive?"



The health and survival prospects for a baby born preterm can depend on many factors. These can include:

The baby's gestation

The baby's 'gestation' refers their 'age' in relation to how many weeks pregnant the mother is (for example a baby born at 32 weeks in the pregnancy is referred to as a 'baby of 32 weeks gestation'). Each extra week a baby can grow inside their mother's womb will usually translate to a considerable increase in their chances for good health and survival.

The outcomes for preterm babies have improved dramatically in recent decades because of improvements in modern technology and the advancements in treatments now available. However, there are still health risks associated with being born too early and the 'older' in gestation the baby, the better off they tend to be.

Predicting how (or if) preterm babies will recover can be difficult for caregivers. They will usually advise parents to take each hour and each day, one at a time. The most critical times for the survival of preterm babies are typically the first week after birth (as well as the days or hours before the birth).

Most preterm births (80 percent) occur at around 32 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. About 20 percent of preterm births are earlier than 32 weeks. The following is a guide to the probable expectations caregivers will have for the health and survival of babies in regards to how preterm they are.

35 to 37 weeks

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