What Are the Odds of a Premature Baby Surviving?

The odds of a premature baby surviving are higher than ever before, thanks to medical advances in neonatal care. Even babies born as early as 22 weeks have a chance of living, with active treatment. According to Utah Health University, the survival rate for babies born at 28 weeks is 80 to 90 percent. Some clinical studies have even more promising data, showing survival rates of 94 percent and 98 percent at this age.

At 24 weeks, approximately 1.5 percent of all babies are born and 95 percent of them survive. Moderately premature babies are less likely than those born earlier to develop severe disabilities, although they may have a higher risk of learning and behavioral problems. About a third of babies born at 24 weeks will develop a significant disability, such as intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness. The odds are even better for babies born at 28 weeks.

At this stage, there is an 80 percent chance of survival and a 9 in 10 chance of growing up healthy. Very premature babies (under 30 weeks' gestation) and those who need help breathing should be cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Preterm birth complications can occur when a baby is born prematurely, usually before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These extremely premature babies are at greater risk of medical complications and may have to stay in the NICU for an extended period of time.

About 40 percent of babies born at 24 weeks will have health problems, according to the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance. Complications from preterm birth are the leading cause of neonatal death in the United Kingdom.Babies born near full term don't usually have long-term health problems as a result of being born prematurely. Micropremature is the term doctors use to refer to babies born before the 26th week of pregnancy or who weigh less than 1.75 pounds (28 ounces) at birth. In a study of approximately 11,000 extremely premature babies, those born at 22 weeks had a 28 percent survival rate, while those born at 23 weeks had a 55 percent survival rate.Medical advances in the care of premature babies mean better outcomes and more peace of mind for parents.

We know some risk factors for preterm birth, but the mechanics behind it remain a mystery, making it difficult to prevent.

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