Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

What to Expect When You Have an Extremely Premature Infant - Topic Overview

Infants born between 22 and 26 weeks of pregnancy are called "extremely premature." If your infant is born this early, you likely will face some hard decisions.

Your premature infant has a much greater chance than ever before of doing well. A baby has the best chance of survival in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that has a staff with a lot of experience.

When a baby is born too early, his or her major organs are not fully formed. This can cause health problems. Your infant may not respond well to attempts to keep him or her alive. Often it's not clear whether treatment will help an infant live-with or without disability-or will only make the dying process take longer. A specialist called a neonatologist can give you some idea of what may happen. But no one can predict what exactly will happen. In the end it will be up to you to decide how far to continue treatment.

Having a premature baby may be stressful and scary. To get through it, you and your partner must take good care of yourselves and each other. It may help to talk to a spiritual adviser, a counselor, or a social worker. You may be able to find a support group of other parents who are going through the same thing.

What can you expect after an extremely premature birth?

If the baby can't breathe, the first decision that may be faced by parents and doctors is whether to resuscitate the infant. This means bringing the baby alive by getting the heart and lungs to work. When resuscitation doesn't work or isn't done, babies get care that makes them comfortable instead of treatment to keep them alive.

Treatment decisions are usually based on whether the infant's brain has been damaged. This can happen from bleeding in the brain or a lack of oxygen. Other things that affect treatment decisions include how physically healthy the baby looks and how many weeks old the baby appears to be.

The first month after the birth is when most major problems occur. It is a critical decision-making period for parents. There may be laws in your area that affect your decisions. Talk to your doctor about this.

1 | 2
Next Article:

What to Expect When You Have an Extremely Premature Infant Topics

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Woman looking at pregnancy test
Quiz
 
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
dark chocolate squares
Slideshow