Premature birth: a relatively small risk

The thought of a premature birth can be worrying. "Preemies" are too light when they are born, and their bodily functions are not yet fully developed. Whether a premature baby can grow into a healthy child depends on a number of factors. The chief of these is the week of pregnancy in which the birth takes place. The nearer the actual date of birth is to the normal due date, the better the baby's development chances.


The fear of a premature birth is fully understandable. Babies are normally born after around 38 to 42 weeks of pregnancy. A baby is regarded as a "preemie" if it's born before the end of the 37th week.

Reasons for premature births

There are various reasons for premature birth. They range from excessive physical strain to nutrient deficiency, the consumption of addictive substances or severe illness on the part of the mother through to premature labour, premature rupture of the amniotic membranes or fibroids in the womb. The reason for a premature birth can often not be ascertained.

Good chances of survival for "preemies"

But fortunately, there is also a positive side: thanks to medical advances and special medical care, premature babies have a very good chance of survival nowadays. Talk to your doctor or your midwife if you notice any indications of a premature birth. There are ways of using medication to postpone the birth or encouraging the development of the baby's lungs.

If a newborn weighs less than 2,000 grams, the disability insurance (IV) covers the costs for the required special neonatal care until the baby has reached a normal weight of 3,000 grams. The hospital takes care of the registration with the IV.


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