In the United States about 1 in 10 babies is born at less than 37 weeks gestation. The most recent data available (2015) identified preterm births accounting for 9.63% of births (approximately 383,130 infants) in the United States (US). This is a slight increase from 9.57% of births in 2014. Seventy-one percent of these births are classified as “late preterm” births, defined as 34 0/7 through 36 6/7 weeks gestation. Increases in preterm births were seen among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women.1 Additional information, including state-specific data can be found on the March of Dimes website: www.marchofdimes.org/mission/prematurity-reportcard.aspx.
Advances in respiratory management and nutrition support of the premature infant have contributed to dramatic increases in survival of VLBW and ELBW infants. Eighty to ninety percent of infants <750 grams survive to discharge. With increases in late preterm births and survival of VLBW and ELBW infants, there is considerable diversity among infants classified as “preterm.” Many prenatal and postnatal factors contribute to this diversity (see Figure 1). The infant born at 33 weeks who was exposed to drugs in-utero may have very different needs than the ELBW infant born at 24 weeks with chronic lung disease. This edition of NUTRITION FOCUS is the first of two issues related to the child born prematurely. This issue, Part 1, discusses discharge planning, nutrition assessment, and interventions during the transition from hospital to home and throughout the first year. To demonstrate the many issues that may face infants born early and at an ELBW, we will follow Aidan from the hospital to home until one year corrected age. The second case study, about Lily, illustrates early discharge issues of the late preterm infant. Read more.... Nutrition and Feeding for the Premature Infant after Hospital Discharge