Macro preemies: no thresholds for risks or concerns
Curr Opin Pediatr
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To provide an overview of the literature regarding medical and developmental risks for moderate to late preterm infants (32-36 weeks gestation), with particular attention to the pediatrician's role in care during both inpatient and outpatient periods. RECENT FINDINGS: Although the risks of medical issues and developmental delays decrease with increasing gestational age, research suggests that infants born after 32 weeks' gestation often exhibit significant morbidities associated with prematurity. These infants, often referred to as 'macro preemies', have been found to be at a greater risk for medical complications secondary to immature organ systems including impairments in temperature regulation, respiratory functioning, feeding coordination, bilirubin excretion, glucose control, and infection susceptibility. Recent studies of macro preemies also suggest a higher incidence of significant deficits noted in gross and fine motor skills, speech and communication, and learning and behavior compared to their full-term counterparts. Without careful attention from birth, macro preemie infants could be susceptible to both medical issues and developmental delays. SUMMARY: Physicians should be aware of the research regarding increased medical and developmental risks for all infants born before term in order to provide their patients with comprehensive medical and neurodevelopmental follow-up care.
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