What is a preterm birth?

March of Dimes
Administration
Premature birth is birth that happens too soon, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies can have serious health problems at birth and later in life. Some women are more likely than others to have preterm labor and premature birth. Learn more at: marchofdimes.org/prematurebirth
A preterm birth is a baby that is born not fully developed. In this video, George Emerson, MD, of West Hills Hospital, explains how babies develop, as well as the length of gestation defined as preterm in the U.S. and around the world.
Preterm birth means a birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth is dangerous for the baby’s health.

Continue Learning about Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy Complications

Complications can fall into the category that is harmful to the baby and/or harmful to the mother. Many women develop gestational diabetes, which only affects the mother. Preeclampsia, which elevates the blood pressure of the moth...

er during pregnancy, can be harmful to both mother and baby. Ectopic pregnancies can put both the mother and baby at risk when the embryo attaches to the fallopian tube, instead of moving to the uterus. Miscarriages or premature births can also happen to pregnant women with certain risk factors. When going through labor, progress can slow, causing distress for the baby and mother. In some cases, a C-section is needed to keep from causing harm to both the baby and mother.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.