IMPORTANT NOTICE: At Fortis Healthcare, we are fully supportive of the National priorities set out by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. Further to the directives of the Government provided in their press release dated 8th Nov 2016, payments at Government hospitals can be made through 500 and 1000 Rupee denomination notes. In view of the hardship being caused to the large number of patients at private hospitals, we have made an urgent representation to the Government that this exemption should apply equally, for payments, at private hospitals. We are following up with the authorities and hope the Government will step in quickly to resolve this anomaly. Meanwhile, at Fortis hospitals across the country, we continue to accept payments through credit card, debit card and electronic banking transfers. As 500 and 1000 Rupee denomination notes are no longer legal tender we are only accepting 100 Rs and lower currency notes. As per Government regulation, a PAN card and legitimate ID proof is however required for payments in cash exceeding Rs 50,000. Meanwhile we continue to ensure that emergency cases get immediate medical attention without delay whatsoever and have put in more administrative staff and help desks to assist patients.

Premature birth

A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby is due. In other words, a premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. Normally, a pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks.

Premature birth gives the baby less time to develop in the womb. Premature babies, especially those born earliest, often have complicated medical problems.

Depending on how early a baby is born, he or she may be:

  • Late preterm, born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy
  • Moderately preterm, born between 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very preterm, born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Extremely preterm, born at or before 25 weeks of pregnancy

Most premature births occur in the late preterm stage.


Symptoms Risk factors Complications Prevention

A premature birth means that your baby hasn't had the usual amount of time to develop in the womb before needing to adapt to life outside the womb.

The signs that a baby's gestation has been cut short include:

  • Small size, with a disproportionately large head
  • Sharper looking, less rounded features than a full-term baby's features, due to a lack of fat stores
  • Fine hair (lanugo) covering much of the body
  • Low body temperature, especially immediately after birth in the delivery room, due to a lack of stored body fat
  • Labored breathing or respiratory distress
  • Lack of reflexes for sucking and swallowing, leading to feeding difficulties

The following tables show the median birth weight, length and head circumference of premature babies at different gestational ages for each sex.

Weight, length and head circumference by gestational age for boys
Gestational ageWeight LengthHead circumference
40 weeks7 lbs., 15 oz.
(3.6 kg)
20 in. (51 cm)13.8 in. (35 cm)
35 weeks5 lbs., 8 oz.
(2.5 kg)
18.1 in. (46 cm)12.6 in. (32 cm)
32 weeks3 lbs., 15.5 oz.
(1.8 kg)
16.5 in. (42 cm)11.6 in. (29.5 cm)
28 weeks2 lbs., 6.8 oz.
(1.1 kg)
14.4 in. (36.5 cm)10.2 in. (26 cm)
24 weeks1 lb., 6.9 oz.
(0.65 kg)
12.2 in. (31 cm)8.7 in. (22 cm)
Weight, length and head circumference by gestational age for girls
Gestational ageWeightLengthHead circumference
40 weeks7 lbs., 7.9 oz.
(3.4 kg)
20 in. (51 cm)13.8 in. (35 cm)
35 weeks5 lbs., 4.7 oz.
(2.4 kg)
17.7 in. (45 cm)12.4 in. (31.5 cm)
32 weeks3 lbs., 12 oz.
(1.7 kg)
16.5 in. (42 cm)11.4 in. (29 cm)
28 weeks2 lbs., 3.3 oz.
(1.0 kg)
14.1 in. (36 cm)9.8 in. (25 cm)
24 weeks1 lb., 5.2 oz.
(0.60 kg)
12.6 in. (32 cm)8.3 in. (21 cm)

Premature babies can quickly develop serious complications, such as infection in the bloodstream (sepsis) and respiratory distress syndrome.

When to see a doctor

You'll be seeing members of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) often. Doctors often visit NICUs at a similar time each day. But, don't hesitate to ask questions even when there's not a regularly scheduled meeting, especially if your baby seems listless, has poor color, or refuses the bottle or breast after trouble-free feedings.


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