A baby born before 37 weeks of gestation have passed. Historically, the definition of prematurity was 2500 grams (about 5 1/2 pounds) or less at birth. The current World Health Organization definition of prematurity is a baby born before 37 weeks of gestation, counting from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period (the LMP).
Premature birth carries greater risks the earlier it occurs before that 37-week goal. A baby born a little prematurely may suffer few if any consequences. The earlier in fetal growth and development that birth takes place, the greater is the likelihood that life-support systems will be needed, and the greater the risk for birth defects and death.
Many procedures are available to prevent early birth, from bed rest to medications. If premature birth is medically necessary or inevitable, however, it may be accomplished via C-section to limit stress on the fetus and protect it from damage.
Colloquially, a premature baby is commonly called a preemie.
- Premature birth
A birth that takes place before 37 weeks of gestation have passed. Historically, the definition of prematurity was 2500 grams (about 5 1/2 pounds) or less at birth. The current World Health Organization definition of prematurity is a baby born before 37 weeks of gestation, counting from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period […]
- Premature contraction of the heart
A single heartbeat that occurs earlier than normal. This phenomenon can be within normal limits, or it may represent a medically significant arrhythmia.
- Premature ejaculation
Ejecting semen from the penis, usually accompanied by orgasm, occurring sooner than a man wants during sexual activity. Premature ejaculation is characterized by a lack of voluntary control over ejaculation that interferes with optimal sexual or psychological well-being in either partner.
- Premature menopause
Menopause (permanent cessation of menses) occurring before age 40. Premature menopause may be induced by medical or surgical procedures or may due to ovarian failure.
- Premature ventricular contraction
Contraction of the lower chambers of the heart, the ventricles, that occurs earlier than usual because of abnormal electrical activity of the ventricles. Abbreviated PVC. The premature contraction is followed by a pause as the heart’s electrical system resets itself; the contraction following the pause is usually more forceful than normal. These more forceful contractions […]