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What is Premature Birth? Here’s What You Need to Know

Nov 14, 2023

In the world of pregnancy and childbirth, the term “premature birth” often comes up, but what exactly does it mean?

Premature birth, also known as preterm birth, is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. It is a complex condition with many causes and risks. However, premature babies are incredibly resilient and with advances in neonatal care, more and more preemies are growing into healthy children and adults.

What Causes Premature Birth?

The “why” behind premature birth is sometimes a mystery. Premature delivery can occur for various reasons, and sometimes the cause remains unknown.

Here are some factors that may contribute to a premature birth:

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Infections and chronic conditions during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Previous premature deliveries
  • Fertility treatments

Risks Associated with Premature Birth

Babies born prematurely often face unique challenges because their organs and systems haven’t had enough time to develop fully.

Here are some of the risks associated with premature birth:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Temperature regulation issues
  • Feeding issues
  • Infections
  • Developmental delays
  • Neurological issues

The Amazing Resilience of Preemies

Despite the risks, premature babies are incredibly resilient. With specialized care from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), many preemies go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives.


Premature birth is a complex and often unexpected journey, but it is one that many families embark on each year. By understanding the causes, risks, and resilience of premature babies, we can offer support and compassion to these families.


Baran, J., Baran, J., Weres, A., Baran, R., Czenczek-Lewandowska, E., Leszczak, J., & Wyszyńska, J. (2022). Preterm Birth and the Type of Birth and Their Impact on the Incidence of Overweight and Obesity in Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(19), 12042.

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