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Outcomes in preterm infants M.J. Platt Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
abstract Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks gestation, and it is estimated that each day, across the world over 41,000 infants are born before this gestational age. The risk of adverse consequences declines with increasing gestational age. While this paper focuses on the consequences of preterm birth, the adverse consequences for infants born at 38 and 39 weeks gestation are also of a higher risk than those for infants born at 40 weeks gestation, with the neonatal mortality risk increasing again in infants born beyond the 42nd week of gestation. ª 2014 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Introduction Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks gestation, and it is estimated that each day, across the world over 41,000 infants are born before this gestational age.1 These infants may be born early precipitated by or as a consequence of maternal antenatal problems, or spontaneously with no apparent precipitating factors. Most preterm infants have a higher risk of death than their more mature peers, and those that survive are often impaired physically, cognitively and/or emotionally. Even in high income countries, with relatively low preterm birth rates, the health needs of preterm infants can be extensive, both in terms of immediate post natal support for the infant (e.g. neonatal intensive care) and their family, and for some, lifelong support. Preterm birth is sub-classified according to gestation at delivery into extreme preterm (