What to Expect When You Have an Extremely Premature Infant - Overview
It's important to remember that research results are
only general numbers. Everyone's case is different, and these numbers may not
show what will happen in your baby's case.
How many of these babies have problems later on?
In the first year of life, babies that have a very low
birth weight are more likely to be in the hospital more often than babies who
were born at a healthier weight.2
Many problems can't be found until after an infant's more urgent problems
are under control. For example:
Below are examples from studies of children who survived
being born extremely early. Researchers looked at how likely these children
were to have problems later on, based on how early they were born and/or what
they weighed at birth.
Chances of having problems
Weeks of pregnancy, or birth weight
Number of infants who had problems later on
Weight less than 1000 g (2 lb)
Up to 4 out of 10 had one or
more moderate or severe problems by the time they were age 8.3 These problems
intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, blindness,
23 to 25 weeks
At age 2½, about 3 out of 10 had one or
more of the severe problems listed above.4 This means that
about 7 out of 10 did not get these problems. At age 6, about 5 out of 10 children born at these early ages were more likely than other children to have attention problems, behavior problems, and problems adjusting to school.5
25 to 26 weeks
Nearly 4 out of 10 had
problems at age 19, including problems with hearing, sight, intellectual
disability, and having a job.6 This means that more
than 6 out of 10 did not have these problems.
For a tool that can help estimate the outcome for babies born at 22 to 25 weeks of age, go to www.nichd.nih.gov/about/org/cdbpm/pp/prog_epbo/epbo_case.cfm.