Outcomes of infants born near term
journal contributionposted on 09.11.2016, 12:10 by Jane V. Gill, Elaine M. Boyle
Most research on outcomes of preterm birth has centred on babies born at <32 weeks gestation and at highest risk of mortality and serious morbidity. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in studies focusing on late preterm infants (34-36 weeks gestation). Early epidemiological studies demonstrated increased risks of mortality and adverse neonatal outcomes in this group, prompting further investigations. These increased risks have been confirmed and more recent studies have also included babies born at 37-38 weeks, now defined as 'early-term' births. It now seems that it is inappropriate to consider term and preterm as a dichotomy; gestational age rather represents a continuum in which risk and severity of adverse outcomes increase with decreasing gestational age, but where measurable effects can be detected even very close to full term. In this review, we summarise current evidence for the outcomes of infants born at late preterm and early-term gestations.