Premature Birth

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Babies born early are likely to need extra care and monitoring to help them gain weight and mature fully outside the womb. Babies born before 37 weeks are defined as premature, with those born between 24 and 28 weeks considered extremely premature. Before week 24 babies are significantly less developed and considered unlikely to survive; a baby born at 23 weeks has only a 17 per cent chance of survival, rising to 39 per cent at 24 weeks. Advances in neonatal care can mean the outlook and chances of survival are increasing all the time, though, and these days some 80 per cent of extremely low birth weight babies survive, compared to only 20 per cent 20 years ago.

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