A premature infant is one who is born 3 or more weeks early. The earlier the baby is born, the more complciations can arise because not all organs are completely formed. But most preemies can recover and grow normally with attentive and loving care. Premature birth may be due to problems within the uterus or placenta in pregnancy, carrying multiple babies, or other factors. A preemie may need to stay in the NICU, be fed through a tube, kept warm using special beds, and be on oxygen therapy. Other treatments may also be used. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how premature infants are cared for, what complications may arise, what to expect later in life, and more.
WebMD explains premature labor and helps you decide when to call the doctor.
Medical Help for Mom and Her Preemie
Learn all about the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where preemies go for treatment after they're born.
What Is Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia?
Keeping a premature baby breathing can have its own complications. Learn more about bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a condition that can develop if your newborn needs help breathing.
Understanding Preterm Labor and Birth -- Diagnosis and Treatment
WebMD's guide to the diagnosis and treatment of preterm labor.
More and More Babies Born Too Soon
Over the past two decades, premature births have increased dramatically in the U.S. Today, one out of 10 babies are born too soon -- and no one can tell us why.
Caring for Your New Arrival
Like most first-time moms, Brittany Shives had high hopes for the birth of her first baby. But just about every one of those plans fell apart when she gave birth nearly 7 weeks before her due date.
Your Premature Baby: Milestones of First 18 Months
An expert explains how premature babies have the same milestones as babies born on time, if you adjust the typical timeline for their early birth.
When 'Labor Day' Comes Early
Expectant moms are more educated than ever about how to ensure a healthy pregnancy, yet rates of preterm labor rising steadily.