Thirty-eight weeks is the date that every pregnant woman has in mind when she knows she is expecting a baby. However, depending on the country, between 5 and 18% of babies are born before that date. The case of premature babies is not very given to making generalizations; each case is specific and must be studied separately; however, we can provide some general figures about the chances of survival depending on the week of delivery.
Wondering what week a premature baby can live? In the following FastlyHealarticle we will explain it to you.
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What does it mean to have a premature baby?
A premature baby or a preterm baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. The days or weeks that advance to the due date can vary greatly; however, the earlier it is taken, the less developed it will be and the less chance of survival.
More complications begin to occur before the 28th week of gestation, about 1% of deliveries. In these cases, it is common for them to have a lightweight – around one kilo – and need to be treated with oxygen and respiratory assistance. At the same time, given their immaturity, they are unable to swallow and breathe simultaneously, so they feed them intravenously until they are unable to do it themselves.
Other problems that premature babies can suffer are the inability to cry and having minimal muscle tone, all of which make them sleep and do not move for most of the day.
From what week can a premature baby live
As we have already explained, it is tough to give a clear answer to what week a premature baby can live from. However, if one had to be delivered, the viability limit and the minimum age that a baby must have to survive is between 22 and 25 weeks of gestation.
If the baby is born before 22 weeks of gestation, it is doubtful that it will survive. The more premature a baby is, the less developed it is; therefore, the lower the baby’s chances of survival. Even if these babies could survive, the risk of having sequelae and problems in sensory and neurological development is very high.
Complications in premature babies according to the weeks
We have already explained that 22 weeks is the age limit beyond which babies can survive. However, most children born at this point in gestation tend to have many complications. As the weeks go up, the chances of survival are higher, and at the same time that the complications decrease. Here we explain the survival rate by gestation age :
- At 22 weeks, 12.5% of children survive.
- At 23 weeks, 13.1% of children survive.
- At 24 weeks, 36.9% of children survive.
- At 25 weeks, 55.7% of children survive.
- At 26 weeks, 71.9% of children survive.
But that they survive does not mean that they do so without sequelae; they most likely suffer from intracranial hemorrhage, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, periventricular leukomalacia, or retinopathy. The rates of premature babies born without complications by gestational age are:
- At 23 weeks, 1.5% of children survive without complications.
- At 24 weeks, 9.5% of children survive without complications.
- At 25 weeks, 19.0% of children survive without complications.
- At 26 weeks, 29.9% of children survive without complications.
As you can see, the cases in which a 23-week-old baby survives without serious complications are exceptional, while the percentages increase as pregnancy progresses.
Beyond the week of gestation in which the baby is born, other factors are related to the baby’s survival. Here we explain what these factors are:
- Weight: the higher the baby’s birth weight, the higher the survival rate.
- Sex: studies indicate that girls have a better evolution than boys.
- Corticosteroids: if the mother receives these drugs during pregnancy, the baby’s lungs mature earlier.
- Single fetus: for twins, survival rates are lower than for single fetuses.
Beyond those that we have just commented on, which are the main ones, other variables must be taken into account, such as:
- If there are malformations in the fetus as if there is congenital heart disease or spina bifida.
- If the pregnancy has been controlled.
- The health of the mother.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more similar articles to What week can a premature baby live from, we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.