The length of a pregnancy is on average 266 days, or around 38 weeks long. A baby that is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is described as having been born prematurely. During pregnancy, a baby grows and the organ systems develop. The more prematurely a baby is born, the more likely that he or she will be born a small size, with low muscle tone (floppy), have little body fat and with organ systems that have not developed as much as those of a baby who is born at full term.
Around 8% of babies are born prematurely. A baby may be born prematurely because of a medical condition affecting the pregnant woman, or because of factors related to the pregnancy or baby. In many cases there are no apparent risk factors for the premature birth.
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Understanding Birth Injuries
- Labour and delivery