Babies born before week 37 of pregnancy are considered preterm. Preterm babies face a higher risk for one or more complications after delivery. However, not all babies develop at the same rate, so there can be exceptions. Immature lungs can be dangerous for your baby. Some of the most common complications include the following.
Even with fetal lung maturity, babies delivered prior to 39 weeks are at risk
How Babies' Lungs Develop In and Out of the Womb
Preterm birth can result in problems of the lungs, heart, brain, and other body systems of a newborn baby. Recent advances in the study of preterm labor have identified effective drugs that may delay delivery. The longer a baby can develop in the womb, the less likely they will have problems associated with preterm birth. Symptoms of preterm labor include:.
One of the most important things that happens during pregnancy is the development of the lungs in a baby. Many of the other parts of a baby are functioning quite early on during fetal development , but for the lungs, every day of development is important. Even one day can make a difference for lung development. For babies who are at risk of being born prematurely, for example, doctors focus primarily on making sure that the lungs are as developed as possible before the baby is born, so the baby has the best chance of survival. Humans need lungs to breathe air, right?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that fetal pulmonary maturity be documented for scheduled deliveries occurring prior to 39 weeks of gestation in order to prevent neonatal respiratory problems. To compare neonatal outcomes, the team looked at mothers who had positive fetal lung maturity tests at between 36 to 38 completed weeks. They compared the neonatal outcomes from these scheduled deliveries prior to 39 weeks with known fetal lung maturity to the outcomes from scheduled deliveries at 39 weeks to 41 completed weeks.