The physicians at our practice are committed to helping you achieve a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In the event of complications, such as preterm birth, feel confident that you have a skilled and knowledgeable medical team on your side. We always strive to facilitate the best possible outcome and provide support throughout this process.

What Is Preterm Birth?

Preterm birth, or premature birth, is when a baby is born before fully developing within the womb. Any birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered to be preterm, with babies born prior to 25 weeks deemed to be extreme preterm. A more specific classification of preterm birth includes:

  • Late Preterm – when the birth takes place between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Moderately Preterm – when the birth takes place between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very Preterm – when the birth takes place less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Extremely Preterm – when the birth takes place at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy

The majority of preterm births occur in the late preterm stage. At this stage, there may be no symptoms, or they may be very mild. The earlier a baby is born, the more evident and immediate the symptoms are, such as:
  • Low birth weight
  • Small size with a lack of body fat
  • Oversized head
  • Low body temperature
  • Being covered in lanugo, a fine hair

Complications of Preterm Birth


A baby can survive birth at 23 weeks or later through intensive care. However, preterm birth raises the risk of complications in the physical and mental development of the baby. These complications may be immediate and temporary or long-term. They may also not be apparent at birth, manifesting later during infancy or early childhood. They vary depending on how early the baby is born, as well as other factors.

Short-term complications associated with preterm birth include:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Difficulty eating due to lack of reflex development
  • Metabolism issues
  • Breathing issues, including respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Heart problems, including patent ductus arteriosus and low blood pressure
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Low body temperature
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Underdeveloped immune system

Long-term complications associated with preterm birth include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Impaired vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Dental problems
  • Developmental milestones delay
  • Behavioral and psychological issues
  • Chronic health concerns

What Causes Preterm Birth?

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of a pregnancy resulting in preterm birth. .
These include:

  • Being pregnant with multiples
  • Having a previous preterm birth
  • Giving birth again in less than six months
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Uterine, cervical or placental problems
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Using drugs
  • Chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Being overweight or underweight before becoming pregnant
  • Stress caused by certain life events, such as losing a loved one
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Previous occurrences of miscarriage or abortions

Schedule Your Appointment

Receive dedicated obstetrical care from the healthcare providers at our practice. Contact us to schedule an appointment.