ABC Medical Center > Premature birth

What is Premature birth?

17:04 - 5 December , 2023


Premature or preterm birth occurs before 37 weeks of gestation, which causes various complications in babies. The earlier the birth, the greater the risk of suffering health problems.

The classification of premature babies depends on how early the birth was:

  • Late: it is the most common type. They are those born between weeks 34 and 36.
  • Moderate: born between weeks 32 and 34.
  • Fully premature: born before week 32.
  • Extremely premature: born before week 25.

Premature babies normally require specialized medical care, so they must remain hospitalized for a longer time, and may need intermediate or intensive care, depending on the case.

Although the reason for premature birth is unknown, a series of potential risks have been identified that increase their chances of occurring, including:

  • Previous premature birth.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Stressful events.
  • Previous abortions.
  • Physical violence.
  • Multiple pregnancy.
  • Immediate pregnancies.
  • Baby conceived by in vitro fertilization.
  • Gynecological complications.
  • Tobacco and drug use.
  • Genital infections.

Signs and symptoms Premature birth

The signs and symptoms may vary depending on the type of preterm classification and the specific case, the most common being:

  • Small body.
  • Large head compared to the body.
  • Thinness.
  • Thin hair on almost all of the body.
  • Low body temperature.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Difficulties eating due to lack of sucking and swallowing reflexes.

The possible complications that some premature babies may suffer are:

  • Immediate: hypothermia, respiratory, cardiac, brain, gastrointestinal, blood, metabolic, and immune problems.
  • Long-term: learning, visual, hearing, dental, psychological, and behavioral problems, as well as cerebral palsy.

Diagnosis and treatment Premature birth

It will be necessary to perform a series of tests on the baby, such as blood tests, ultrasound, cardiac ultrasound, and eye examination to identify their complications and establish the appropriate treatment, which may include staying in an incubator, tube feeding, fluid replacement, bili lights therapy, blood transfusions, drugs, and surgical procedures.

Comprehensive women’s health is our priority at the Women’s Center, so we offer services focused on women in all their chronological stages with the highest standards of care to improve their quality of life, through a wide range of prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up services.


  • breastcancer.org
  • cun.es
  • stanfordchildrens.org
  • mayoclinic.org
  • topdoctors.es
  • medlineplus.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Retureta-Milán SE, Casas-Rodríguez L, Posada-Fernández PE, et al. Escala de riesgo obstétrico de parto prematuro para gestantes en el primer nivel de atención a la salud. Mediciego. 2020;26(2):1-18.
  • Rodríguez MA, Hernández BE, Villafuerte RJ, et al. Factores de riesgo asociados al parto pretérmino. Cienfuegos 2012. Medisur. 2019;17(4):505-513.
  • Robaina CGR. Nacimiento prematuro en el nuevo milenio: ¿qué hacemos y hacia dónde vamos?. Revista Médica Electrón. 2017;39(5):1017-1021.
  • Rodríguez CSI, Ramos GR, Hernández HRJ. Factores de riesgo para la prematurez. Estudio de casos y controles. Ginecol Obstet Mex. 2013;81(09):499-503.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.