Early neonatal morbidities in late preterm compared to term neonates born in a tertiary care private hospital

Yogesh P. Mehta, Manjusha Bhicurao Naik, Kinnera Putrevu


Background: Late preterm babies, born between 34 completed weeks of gestation through 36 weeks 6/7 gestation, tend to be physiologically less mature than term infants, subjecting them to an increased risk of developing various morbidities. Limited information is available regarding the current scenario in India. Therefore, the objective of this study was to understand and compare the early morbidities in late preterm newborns with those in full term babies in a tertiary hospital in India.

Methods: The current prospective, observational study consisted of total 150 babies divided into two groups equally; late preterm neonates born between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation and full-term neonates. Weight (at birth, at 72 hours), heart rate, temperature and respiratory parameters were noted of all babies. The newborns were examined for respiratory morbidities, ability to breastfeed, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, neonatal jaundice and signs of sepsis. The need for resuscitation, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and parenteral nutrition was also assessed. Data was expressed as mean±SD and was analyzed using the Student ‘t’ and Mann Whitney U tests.

Results: The mean length and weight at birth in late preterm babies was significantly lesser than term newborns. Late preterm babies were found to have significantly higher incidence of complications like hyperbilirubinemia (62.7% vs 13.3%), respiratory morbidities (16% vs 4%), poor feeding, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and sepsis compared to term newborns (p<0.01).

Conclusions: Late preterm infants are at a higher risk than term infants for a number of neonatal complications. Initiatives imparting special care to late preterm infants are required in order to lower the morbidities endured by this population.


Hyperbilirubinemia, Late preterm, Morbidities, Neonate, Neonatal intensive care

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