Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks gestation, and it is estimated that each day, across the world over 41,000 infants are born before this gestational age. The risk of adverse consequences declines with increasing gestational age. While this paper focuses on the consequences of preterm birth, the adverse consequences for infants born at 38 and 39 weeks gestation are also of a higher risk than those for infants born at 40 weeks gestation, with the neonatal mortality risk increasing again in infants born beyond the 42nd week of gestation.
Copyright © 2014 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.