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Premature Babies

Summary

Almost 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States are premature, or preemies. A premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.

Important growth and development happen throughout pregnancy – especially in the final months and weeks. Because they are born too early, preemies weigh much less than full-term babies. They may have health problems because their organs did not have enough time to develop. Problems that a baby born too early may have include

Preemies need special medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. They stay there until their organ systems can work on their own.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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