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Health & Pregnancy

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Preterm Labor and Birth -- The Basics Explained

How Does Early Birth Affect a Baby? continued...

It’s less common, but preemies sometimes can have other problems like:

  • Infections, such as pneumonia (lungs) and sepsis (a widespread infection in the blood)
  • Jaundice, which causes their eyes and skin to look yellow. It happens because their bodies can’t clear a substance called bilirubin that builds up in the liver.
  • Bleeding in the brain -- this sounds scary but it’s usually mild and resolves on its own
  • Low blood sugar, which can result from the low body temperature

As they get older, some of these children may have other troubles, ranging from difficulty with vision, to cerebral palsy, to learning struggles.

But those problems are rare. Almost 90% of babies who weigh at least 2 pounds -- that’s about 28 weeks along -- do just fine.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on July 23, 2015
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