8.2.2 Classification on gestational age
A premature baby is a baby born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Based on the gestational age, preterm babies are further classified as follows:
Preterm baby: Babies born between the gestational ages of 32-36 weeks of gestation, as calculated from the mother’s last normal menstrual period (LNMP date). These babies can usually be managed safely at home with some extra care and support, which you will learn later in this study session.
Very preterm baby: Babies born between the gestational ages of 28-31 weeks as calculated from the LNMP date. Like very low birth weight babies and for the same reasons, they have problems in feeding and maintaining their body temperature. If possible, they should be referred urgently for specialist care at a hospital.
Table 8.1 summarises the classifications we have just described, and the actions you should take.
Table 8.1 Classification of newborn babies according to birth weight and gestational age.
|Birth weight and gestational age||Classification||Action|
|Weight less than 1,500 gm||Very low birth weight||Refer URGENTLY to a hospital, making sure to keep the baby warm on the journey|
|Gestational age less than 32 weeks||Very preterm||Keep the newborn baby warm and refer it soon.|
|Weight 1,500 to 2,500 gm||Low birth weight||If there is no other problem:counsel on optimal breast feeding, prevention of infection and keeping the baby warm|
|Gestational age 32-36 weeks||Preterm||As above for low birth weight babies|
|Weight equal to or above 2,500 gm; gestational age equal to or above 37 weeks||Normal weight and full term||As above for low birth weight and preterm babies|