Are babies born at 34 to 36 weeks gestation (late preterm) at risk for medical problems?
Late preterm infants are usually healthier than babies born earlier. More than 99 percent of these babies survive, though they are (16): • 6 times more likely than full-term infants to die in the first week of life (2.8 per 1,000 vs. 0.5 per 1,000) • 3 times more likely to die in the first year of life (7.9 per 1,000 vs. 2.4 per 1,000) Late preterm babies often weigh between 4 and 6 pounds, and they may appear thinner than full-term babies. These babies remain at higher risk than full-term babies for newborn health problems, including breathing and feeding problems, difficulties regulating body temperature, and jaundice (17). These problems are usually mild. Most of these babies can breast- or bottle-feed, although some (especially those with mild breathing problems) may need tube-feeding for a brief time. A babys brain at 35 weeks weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 40 weeks (17). Because their brain development is not complete, these babies may be at increased risk for le