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Delivery before the 37th week is called a premature, or preterm,
delivery. A premature delivery can cause problems for the infants if their
organs are not fully developed. Infants delivered before 32 weeks have greater
health risks than those who are delivered at 32 weeks of
gestation or later.
Multiple pregnancies seldom reach the usual 40-week due date:footnote 1
After delivery, most premature babies need care in a hospital unit
called the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Care in the NICU can last days
or weeks, depending on a baby's condition and the amount of specialized care
the baby needs.
For more information, see
Preterm Labor and Premature
Bush MC, Pernoll ML (2013). Multiple gestation. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology, 11th ed., pp. 301–309. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Current as ofMay 30, 2016
Current as of:
May 30, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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