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Premature Infant

What is prematurity?

A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature, that is, born before complete maturity. Slightly fewer than 12% of all babies are premature. Overall, the rate of premature births is rising, mainly due to the large numbers of multiple births in recent years. Twins and other multiples are about six times more likely to be premature than single birth babies. The rate of premature single births is also slightly increasing each year.

Other terms often used for prematurity are preterm and "preemie." Many premature babies also weigh less than 2,500 grams (5 lbs 8 oz) and may be referred to as low birthweight (LBW).

Prevention and Risk Assessment

  • About premature infants
  • What causes prematurity?
  • Why is prematurity a concern?
  • What can prevent prematurity?


  • What are the characteristics of prematurity?


  • What is the treatment for prematurity?
  • When can a premature baby go home from the hospital?
Children's Team

Children's Team


Taeun Chang

Taeun Chang

Director, Neonatal Neurology and Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program
Neonatal and Fetal Neurologist
An Massaro

An Massaro

Director, Residency Research
Assistant Program Director, Pediatric Residency
Nneka Nzegwu

Nneka Nzegwu

Associate Director, Quality and Safety, Neonatology Division
Our Stories

Our Stories

Amarie on a park swing

Amarie's Story

Amarie, an infant born prematurely, is enrolled in a Children’s research study that seeks to understand how preterm birth affects the cerebellum.



Critical Care Medicine

With the only pediatric, cardiac and neuro-intensive care units in the immediate Washington, D.C., area, Children’s National Health System is the region’s leading provider of critical care medicine for seriously ill and injured infants and children.


Whether your infant has arrived prematurely or has a critical illness, the Children’s National Hospital top-ranked team assists in coordinating every service you and your baby need, including consultations, assessments, emergency treatments and continuing care.

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