Neonatal Care Academy

Late Preterm Infants:

Near Term But Still in a Critical Developmental Time Period

Later preterm (LP) infants are those defined as born at 34-0/7 to 36-6/7 and comprise the fastest growing subset of neonates, accounting for 74% of all preterm births and 8-9% of total births in USA. The last 6 weeks of gestation represent a critical period of growth and development of the fetal brain Late preterm newborns are at increased risk of jaundice, hypoglycemia and temperature instability.
There is a growing concern that LP’s are more prone to brain injury than previously appreciated. Although LP’s are more mature than ELGAN’s, their brain is still immature and can be damaged under some adverse conditions. Brain weight at 34 weeks is only 65% of the term brain, and gyral and sulcal formation is incomplete. 25% of cerebellar development occurs in this time period and therefore they should be offered protective environments to promote normal brain development.

www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2013-1131 doi:10.1542/peds.2013-1131

Amir Kugelman, MDa and Andrew A. Colin, MDb

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