Objective: To analyze neonatal morbidity and mortality rates of late-preterms and to compare them with their term counterparts in a tertiary care unit in Turkey.
Study design: The study included 252 late-preterm newborns (34 0/7--36 6/7 weeks' gestational age), admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the first 24 h of life between January 2005 and June 2007 and 252 newborns born in the same hospital in the same period of time. Babies with major congenital and/or chromosomal abnormalities were excluded.
Results: The mortality rate was 2.3% in late-preterms. None of the term newborns died. Compared to terms, late-preterms were 11 times more likely to develop respiratory distress, 14 times more likely to have feeding problems, 11 times more likely to exhibit hypoglycemia, 3 times more likely to be readmitted and 2.5 times more likely to be rehospitalized. Late-prematurity, being large for gestational age, male gender, and cesarean delivery were significant risk factors for respiratory distress.
Conclusion: Late-preterms have significantly higher risk of morbidity and mortality compared with term newborns. Greater concern and attention is required for the care of this ignored, at-risk population.