Premature birth

Premature birth

All children born before week 37 of gestation are considered to be premature. The earlier the child is born the greater the risk of complications at that moment and later in life. Among these problems, cerebral palsy (the ability to move and maintain balance and posture), hearing and seeing problems, and delays in development. Those women with a risk to give birth prematurely, women with who are over- or underweight, smoking, psychological stress and vaginal infections, might benefit from progesterone treatment. Also, corticosteroid treatment of women who might deliver in between week 24 and 34 of gestation might improve outcome. Preterm babies often need support breathing and keeping warm, and be monitored with a close eye with respect to the risk of infections and the treatment thereof.


Risk Factors for preterm birth:

  • (passive) smoking, alcohol and/or drug use
  • History of spontaneous (or assisted) abortion
  • Multiple gestation
  • (vaginal) infections



  1. Kemp MW. Preterm birth, intrauterine infection, and fetal inflammation. Front Immunol. 2014 Dec 1;5:574 (PMID:25520716)
  2. Romero R, et al. Preterm labor: one syndrome, many causes. Science. 2014 Aug 15;345(6198):760-5 (PMID:25124429)


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