Preemies and Gestational Age
“Preterm” as a whole is any baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. I’ve shared the classifications of premature babies based on birth weight, but there are also different sub-categories based on gestational age.
Late Preterm is a baby born between 34-37 weeks. Moderately Premature is a baby born between 31-34 weeks. Very Premature is a baby born between 27-30 weeks. A Micro-Preemie is a baby born before 26 weeks gestation.
Different credible resources sometimes have conflicting thoughts on the ages included in each category and as time progresses the “qualifications” change over time, but the names of these classifications remain constant.
Between families, there isn’t a “competition” on which category is the most important or carries the most struggles, because prematurity in itself is complicated, traumatic, and difficult for all. It is, however, important to classify the levels of prematurity because, though every child and circumstances are different, each label comes with unique concerns. The most important thing to know is that the earlier the birth, the longer the NICU stay and the more hurdles there may be to overcome.