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    Babies Born at 29 Weeks: FAQs That Moms of Preemies Need to Know

    Published 13 January 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    A baby born at 29 weeks of gestation is considered premature. We’ve created a guide for parents of premature babies, including what to expect after delivery and how to take care of preemies. For a baby born at 29 weeks, how long they spend in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) depends on many different factors. This guide covers what to expect with preterm delivery.

    What is considered preterm delivery?

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, preterm labor is defined as regular contractions of the uterus resulting in changes in the cervix that start before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These changes may include effacement, when the cervix gets thinner, or dilation, when it opens up during delivery. 

    Classes of preterm delivery

    When a baby is born between 20 and 37 weeks of gestation, it is called preterm delivery. There are four different classes of preterm deliveries:

    • Late preterm delivery occurs between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Most premature births occur in this class.
    • Moderately preterm is when babies are born between 32 and 34 weeks.
    • Very preterm is when babies are born between 25 and 32 weeks.
    • Extremely preterm is when babies are born before 25 weeks.

    Problems with preterm babies

    A premature baby born at 29 weeks of gestation (a little more than seven months) can show many complications because their organs haven’t completely matured. They’re also much smaller than babies carried to full term. For a baby born at 29 weeks, complications include both short-term and long-term health problems. Some health problems a baby born at 29 weeks might experience include:

    • Inability to maintain body temperature
    • Short-term and long-term breathing problems
    • Anemia or low red blood counts
    • Jaundice or yellow color to the skin due to an inefficient liver 
    • Kidney complications
    • Trouble feeding or digesting foods
    • An immature nervous system, which may result in seizures
    • Infections due to a weak immune system 

    Can a baby born at 29 weeks survive?

    A baby born at 29 weeks has an excellent chance of survival if they receive care by a physician who is experienced in caring for and treating premature babies. After a preemie is born, they are typically cared for in the NICU. The survival rate for babies born at 29 weeks is between 80 and 90 percent. 

    How are babies born at 29 weeks different from full-term ones?

    The average gestation period of a full-term baby is 40 weeks. In comparison to babies born at 29 weeks, full-term babies are larger and look less fragile. 

    Babies born at 29 weeks are around 15.3 inches long on average and weigh about 3 pounds. They may have soft, downy hair on their backs, arms, and legs, which helps them maintain their body temperature. Their skin may also appear very soft, reddish in color, and translucent, and their ears may hug the sides of their heads because they have not fully developed. The head and stomach of a premature baby may be disproportionately larger than their arms and legs, though they may seem very skinny because they haven’t had time to develop body fat. 

    What to expect with a baby born at 29 weeks