On this blog you might encounter some terms with which you’re not familiar. For reference, here are some of the most common ones.
Degrees of Prematurity: The World Health Organization lists these degrees of prematurity, defined as any baby born before 37 weeks gestational age:
- Late preterm, born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Almost all babies born late preterm in the US survive.
- Moderately preterm, born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
- Very preterm, born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy. Today, roughly 90% of babies born at this age in the U.S. survive. Still too few, but still so many more than once upon a time.
- Extremely preterm, born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy
Low Birth Weight: When a baby is born weighing less than 5 lbs, 8 ounces, they are considered to be “low birth weight.” According to the March of Dimes, 1 in every 12 babies in the United States is born with low birthweight. As with gestational age, the earlier a baby is born or the less they weigh, the greater the risk of complications. As with prematurity, there are varying degrees of low birth weight, classified as following according to Wikipedia:
- Low birth weight (LBW): less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, or 2,499 grams
- Very low birth weight (VLBW): less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces, or 1500 grams
- Extremely low birth weight (ELBW): less than 2 pounds, 3 ounces, or 1000 grams.
Micropreemie: A term in common usage today is the “micropreemie,” meaning any baby born before 26 weeks, and weighing less than 800 grams (28 ounces, or 1 lb 12 oz.) Some define “micropreemie” as any baby born before 29 weeks of gestation, or weighing roughly under 3 lbs. However we define them, these are the smallest babies. See this information at Verywell.
NICU: The neonatal intensive care unit, or special care unit in Great Britain and elsewhere, a special hospital unit for the care of newborn babies, premature and full-term, requiring medical care and treatment. A place of miracles and saving lives, and a place of uncertainty and broken dreams, wrapped into tiny packages.