How early can a baby be safely born? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been having contractions on and off since 28 weeks. And, while I did it with my first two as well, I always have this little worry in the back of my head that this one may be early (of course I worried about the other two as well and they were 39+ weeks). Since the contractions started my dr has been saying I need to make it to 37 weeks. All of a sudden last week he switched to being ok with 36. The subject suddently changed and I didn't get to ask him why.

So I know 38 - 40 is term. 37 is usually considered the date for the lungs to be develped. I know there are teeny, tiny, oh god, micro-preemies and then there are full term babies, but what's in between? I'm 34 weeks now. What is 34 week or 35, 36 or 37 like?

Like I said, odds are really good I'll go full term; I always have, even though I start dilating early. But I just have this worry in the back of my head . . . what if?
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#2 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 12:55 PM
 
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I had my son at 36.6 weeks.. 7 lbs even.. good apgars. a bit of jaundice which is probably more related to his genetic disorder then the timing of birth

with DD I had preterm labor.. my doc hospitilzed me at 32 weeks for a week then sent me home on a pump..I stayed on it till 36 weeks. was 3 cms when I came off & told if I went in labor it was fine
she was born at 36.3 weeks & was perfect.. 7 lbs 4 oz.. went home the next morning & has been extremly healthy since
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#3 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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I don't have a medical answer for you...but I do have some (former) premmies in the family. The most recent one is a year and a half...he was the earliest to arrive, at just 30 weeks (just over 2lbs), he is now reaching all his developmental milestones right on track. His father was a premmie (is now 23 and 6'5" if you can imagine going from 4lbs at birth!) born at 33 weeks, and his uncle was born at 32 weeks. I also have a cousin, now in her mid 30's who was 6 weeks early, and I had no idea until recently so she obviously had no long term effects. Not sure if you will find this helpful or not??
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#4 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 03:44 PM
 
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I had early contractions with my last pg and was worried about this too. It's possible for babies to survive as early as (I think) 24 weeks, though they often have major long-term health problems. From my research and talking with my midwife, if you make it to 34 weeks, the baby will almost certainly be OK, though they may stay in the hospital for a bit; at 36 weeks you're pretty safe.
Good luck, mama
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#5 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 03:55 PM
 
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I had my youngest at 31.5 weeks. He was 4lbs, 8oz. He needed to stay in the NICU for 3 weeks because he couldn't keep his temp up or nurse yet, but otherwise was perfect. When I went into labor they said they could delay my labor a couple days but it wouldn't do much good, at that point they'd need 2 more weeks (34 weeks) to make a significant difference. Had he been born at 34 weeks he probably would not have needed any help because 2 weeks in utero is much better and allows for much greater development than 2 weeks out. If you made it to 34 weeks you are probably in the clear (although that's not a guarentee either since a baby could be born at 40 weeks with problems). Most babies who make it to 36 weeks are perfectly fine and go home with mom.
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#6 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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I had a preterm labor scare with DS at 33 weeks - they told me then that they'd stop labor at 33 but if it recurred at or close to 35 we'd just have the baby. Turns out a single dose of terbutaline did the trick for me - stopped everything cold (thank goodness it was that simple) and he was born at 39 weeks.

My youngest brother was born at home at 36 weeks and had no problems whatsoever. From what I understand, 36 weeks can be iffy - some babies need the NICU but most come out ready for the world. It seems like generally, 36 weeks is the cut-off for whether everyone gets worried or just takes things as 'normal'.

Of course, when I went in at 39 weeks to actually deliver DS everyone started panicking and rushing - turns out someone forgot to purge my record and 33 weeks was still on 'the board' (the computer). Turns out it was a good thing they rushed, he was born 7 minutes after we arrived at the hospital, but it was almost funny how much attention we got.

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#7 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 04:28 PM
 
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When I having preterm labor, bedrest, terbutaline, the whole nine yards . . . my goals were

--28 weeks because she had a good chance of surviving
--32 weeks because she had a good chance of suriving without long-term effects
--35.5 weeks because she would probably be able to go home with me barring unforseen circumstances

She was born at 36 weeks exactly and was perfect and healthy. 6 pounds 13 oz. and we went home about 1.5 days later.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#8 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 04:37 PM
 
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dd was born at 35 1/2 weeks 6 bl 9 oz- no problems except jaundice and took a month to nurse exclusively

ds1 born at 35 weeks 6 lb 6 oz-same issues as dd, but took him 4 months to nurse (mostly b/c I took to long to realize he had latch issues, by then I was working us out of a hole). Was hospitalized at 10 days old b/c of jaundice.

ds2 born at 34 1/2 weeks 6 lb 2 oz- same issues as the first 2. Had a biliblanket for 4 days b/c of jaundice.

All left the hospital when I did.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#9 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much, everyone, I feel much better. Like I said in the op, I've done this both times and gone to term. But each time it worries you, plus I started having contractions about 6 weeks earlier this time.

It seemed so strange when the dr jumped from OK at 37 to OK with 36 wks. Don't know whether it looks more likely that I'll go into labor or if he's just getting more comfortable now that's it's closer. 34 wks 4 days now, even if I don't make it all the way, it looks like I'm over the really scary part.

Thanks everyone!
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#10 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 05:06 PM
 
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My son was born at 37 weeks exactly and was perfectly healthy. He was 6 lbs., 14 oz. and his APGAR scores were 9 and 9. We went home from the birth center 12 hours later. He developed jaundice for several days and we had a tough start to nursing (poor rooting reflex) which is common for babies born at that point, but he still gained really well and has been extremely healthy since birth.

The hardest thing with an early (but not premature) baby is that they are too sleepy to wake and nurse as frequently as they ought to. We were instructed to wake him every three hours to nurse him (every 2 hours the first week, until his jaundice cleared up) day and night which is tough. I really hope my next baby will stay in until 39+ weeks because the first few weeks with a 37-weeker were hard, and I've heard the beginning phase is so much easier when they stay in longer. But from a health perspective, 37 week babies do fine.
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#11 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 05:41 PM
 
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Ny dd Susannah was born at 37 weeks and weighed 7lb 9 oz.She would have been big had she gone to 40 weeks! I did notice some differences.She was the only one of my 5 kids that had a colicky/reflux kind of tummy.She seemed to outgrow it quickly and I think it was just an immature tummy.A boy I used to babysit for was born at 34 weeks and weighed 5lb 9 oz & was perfectly fine. Hugs,Catherine
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#12 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 10:21 PM
 
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my second ds was born at 33 weeks 5 days and stayed in the nicu for 10 days he was fed by ng tube for three days and then nursed exclusively after that.
ds #3 was born at 35 5days and had apgars of 10 and 10 and went home from hospital 5 hours later.
I am glad someone mentioned that early babies are generally really sleepy and in order to keep the nursing relationship going the mommy has to be a little pushy like waking baby up every two hours around the clock for about 2 weeks.
good luck
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#13 of 25 Old 09-26-2004, 10:59 PM
 
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My dd and ds were born just shy of 32 weeks, but had the benefit of the hormone shots I got 2 days before which helped lung development. Their apgars were both 8/9, and were never intubated. They were in the NICU for 4 looong weeks because they needed to get big enough to be allowed to go home and also learn to eat/feed, etc. At 35.5 weeks, they came home. Their "preemie" problems (reflux, etc.) resolved without incident and they have no lasting problems at all -- in fact, they caught up in all areas by 15 months... and much earlier for many (such as language development and social skills).

So I guess I would answer your question: 31 to 32 weeks provided you get the hormone shot in sufficient time before birth (at least 48 hrs)... 34-35+ weeks if you don't.
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#14 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 03:02 AM
 
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First baby I had preterm labor at 28 weeks. He was born at 38 weeks, totally fine -8 1/2 lbs.

My second baby was born at home at 36 weeks. He was totally fine- 6 1/2 lbs, although he would sleep all night if you let him, without waking to nurse. And both of my boys had really bad jaundice, mostly because they are asian boys (there is a much higher incidence of this in them apparently) and dh and I have ABO incompatibility.

As you know, I've been having a little preterm drama with this pregnancy. The NICU told me the baby will live outside the uterus past 24 weeks (which I just made it to -yippeee!!!) Although, they aim to keep them in there past 28 weeks. I would think the baby would be fine past 34 weeks, even if they needed a nicu stay- I don't think there would be many long term problems.
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#15 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 11:41 AM
 
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If it's any help, my midwife has said that as long as you are sure of your dates, she can do a homebirth once you hit 36 weeks. Which is what I am aiming for, just a few more days!!

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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#16 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 01:48 PM
 
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Skylar was born at 32w2d. He was 4lbs. 1.6ozs. and 18in. long. He was in the NICU for just over 3 weeks and has never had any problems since. He did have horrible reflux as an infant which i think was due to him being early but he reached all his milestones right on or early. They always said to not be suprised if he's 2 months behind kids his age but from what I've seen when he was in daycare over the past 6 months he's right at everyone else's levels.
much love
-Lindsey

Lindsey- SAHM to Skylar (7-12-01), Leah (10-29-04), id twin boys Addison and Riley (6-17-08, born at 25w4d), and Terran (5-29-11, born at 28 weeks)

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#17 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 03:33 PM
 
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My SIL is a perinatologist and she told me that generally 36 weeks is a take home baby. Before that and they will probably have to stay in the NICU to learn to suck and until they can regulate their own temperature.
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#18 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 03:49 PM
 
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Seth was born at 34 weeks and weighed 4 lbs. 8 ozs. He was completely healthy and came home with me after five days (I had a c-section and low platelets). He came home at 4 lbs. 2 ozs.

Madi was born at 35 weeks and weighed 4 lbs. 13 ozs. She had to stay in the NICU for one month, but only b/c of surgery. She was fine in every other aspect.

My other boys were 37 and 38 weeks and weighed 6 lbs. 2 ozs. and 7 lbs. 11ozs.

Every baby is different. When Seth was born there was a 39 weeker on a vent b/c his lungs weren't developed. Seth didn't even need supplemental oxygen at 34 weeks.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#19 of 25 Old 09-27-2004, 04:20 PM
 
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Since I have a preemie, I have done some looking into this. At 34-36 weeks the baby has a survival rate of 95%. At 36-37 weeks it's 98%. At your gestation more than likely the baby would be just fine, but with a few small issues relating to premturity, like difficulty breastfeeding, troubles with jaundice (higher numbers, and peaking at 5 days, not 3), different sleeping patterns, reflux, and so on. Nothing life threatening or major, but a few little bumps in the road.
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#20 of 25 Old 09-30-2004, 02:33 PM
 
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i'm a NICU Rn, and when one of us got pg we would set goals for ourselves, since a high number of our own babes were born prematurally and ended up in the NICU.
goal 1 is 24 weeks, this is the age of viability. SOME babes smaller might survive but chances are not good
goal 2 is 28 weeks, your odds of survival are much greater, like 80% or so
goal 3 is 30 weeks then 32 weeks 34 weeks and so forth
every week helps

if you are asking at what age do the babes usually get to come home right away instead of being in the NICU? then i'd say it depends on the hospital. some will say 35 weeks some 36 weeks. some will say 5 lbs. so it depends. at 28 weeks you are more safe than 24 weeks but if you could get to 34 it would be ideal. they might have a little NICU time, but usually it's because they are little and need some lights for jaundice, or help learning how to eat. the suck, swallow, breath coordination isn't really perfected till around 35 weeks.
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#21 of 25 Old 09-30-2004, 03:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzmeg
It's possible for babies to survive as early as (I think) 24 weeks, though they often have major long-term health problems.
I hate to say this, but actually, it depends on where you live. Some areas' medical facilities are much more advanced and can better deal with preemies than others. Even within my state, it depends on what town you live in. Hate to be blunt about this, but it is true.
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#22 of 25 Old 09-30-2004, 04:09 PM
 
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From what I know, long-term survival and health/disability outcomes (percentages) are the same at 34 weeks as they are at full term. However, many (most?) 34-weekers need a little help in the hospital and can't come home right away. Personally, I felt a big sigh of relief when I passed that 34 week point.

Stacy-- Wife to my DH, mom to three: noodle girl:, Lego boy , little guy :
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#23 of 25 Old 10-01-2004, 02:43 PM
 
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I gave birth at 35 weeks. (Went into labor at 34 wks 6 days, delivered the next day.) He went home with me 2 days later and only spent a few hours in the regular nursery, not the NICU, on oxygen monitors to see if he was getting enough oxygen. He had a bit of indrawing, but it turned out that it was fine. He did have trouble regulating his temp, but I took his temp 5 times/day and used kangaroo care to keep him warm when he needed it. I also had to set an alarm to wake him to feed during the night, and occassionally I had to give him expressed milk with a syringe because I couldn't get him to nurse long enough.
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#24 of 25 Old 10-02-2004, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskanteach
I hate to say this, but actually, it depends on where you live. Some areas' medical facilities are much more advanced and can better deal with preemies than others. Even within my state, it depends on what town you live in. Hate to be blunt about this, but it is true.
Definitely true. I live 30 minutes from the regional hospital. It is tiny. They have 3 ob nurses - total. They keep one on at all times but she works the general floor unless someone comes in in labor. Not only isn't there a NICU, they don't even have a nursery since that would require another nurse to watch over the baby. If I go into labor before 36 weeks it means being flown 100 miles by helicopter.

I'm 35 weeks now so I've made it over the really tough parts. The good, but strange, news is that my contractions have stopped. After having them from 28 weeks until 34, they stopped a few days ago. I'm still having braxton-hicks like mad, but the cervix cramping, back aching ones having just diappeared. Wierd. I keep waiting for them to start again.

Thanks again for all the info. I definitly makes me feel better knowing that if, not likely, but if anything happens odds are good it'll be OK.
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#25 of 25 Old 10-02-2004, 06:46 PM
 
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OMG you make me think of a friend of mine that went into preterm labor at 30 weeks. she was hospitalized, medicated until her cx would slow down. well she was pulled out of work and kept on bedrest. she cont to have frequent cx from 30 weeks till she hit 40 weeks, then they stopped LOL!!!! a week later she was induced for oligohydramnios, but really all they had to do was break her water and out came the babe LOL. we all found it really ironic that she was in PTL for 10 weeks then had to be induced.
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