Do Late Preterm Babies Develop Slower?

Late Preterm BabiesSource:


Pregnancy is a beautiful but challenging journey for women. It is a time when every mother wants to ensure the best possible health for their baby. Preterm babies are those born before 37 weeks of gestation. Late preterm babies, on the other hand, are those born between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation. Late preterm babies are becoming more common, and mothers are worried about their development. In this article, we will explore if late preterm babies develop slower or not.

Understanding Late Preterm Babies

Late preterm babies are not considered premature, but they are not full-term either. They are born before the completion of the 37 weeks of gestation period, and their organs are not fully developed. Late preterm babies are at an increased risk of respiratory distress, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and jaundice. They may also have difficulty breastfeeding and maintaining their body temperature.

Do Late Preterm Babies Develop Slower?

Studies have shown that late preterm babies may experience developmental delays compared to full-term babies. They may have a higher risk of cognitive, behavioral, and motor difficulties. These developmental delays may be due to their organs not being fully matured at birth.The brain grows rapidly during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Late preterm babies miss this critical period, which may affect their brain development. They may have difficulty with attention, concentration, and learning. They may also have behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and impulsivity.Late preterm babies may also experience physical delays. They may have difficulty with muscle coordination, balance, and movement. They may also have delayed language development and may struggle with speech.

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Prevention and Treatment

Prevention is always better than cure. Late preterm births can be prevented by proper prenatal care. Mothers should attend regular check-ups, eat a healthy diet, and avoid tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy. They should also inform their doctors of any medical conditions or medications they are taking.If a late preterm baby is born, they need special care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The baby’s health will be monitored closely, and treatment may include oxygen therapy, phototherapy, and tube feeding. Mothers should also seek help from lactation consultants and speech therapists to support breastfeeding and language development.


Late preterm babies may develop slower than full-term babies. They may experience cognitive, behavioral, and motor difficulties due to their organs not fully maturing at birth. Prevention is key, and mothers should receive proper prenatal care to avoid late preterm births. If a late preterm baby is born, they need special care in the NICU and follow-up care with healthcare professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can late preterm babies catch up with their development?

A: Yes, late preterm babies can catch up with their development with proper care and support.

Q: Is it safe to breastfeed a late preterm baby?

A: Yes, it is safe to breastfeed a late preterm baby. Lactation consultants can provide support and guidance.

Q: Can late preterm babies have long-term effects?

A: Yes, late preterm babies may have long-term effects such as developmental delays and learning difficulties. Follow-up care with healthcare professionals is essential.

Q: Why are late preterm babies becoming more common?

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A: Late preterm births are becoming more common due to an increase in induced labor and cesarean deliveries.

Q: How can parents support a late preterm baby’s development?

A: Parents can support a late preterm baby’s development by providing a safe and nurturing environment, seeking support from healthcare professionals, and participating in early intervention programs.

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I am a child development specialist with a strong passion for helping parents navigate the exciting and sometimes challenging journey of raising a child. Through my website, I aim to provide parents with practical advice and reliable information on topics such as infant sleep, feeding, cognitive and physical development, and much more. As a mother of two young children myself, I understand the joys and struggles of parenting and am committed to supporting other parents on their journey.

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