ZocdocAnswersHow early into the third trimester can a woman have a baby?

Question

How early into the third trimester can a woman have a baby?

Is it possible to have a baby a few weeks into my third trimester? I worry about early births. I am 22 and this is my first baby.

Answer

With today's medical technology, it is possible for a baby to be born at about the start of the 3rd trimester and still live. While this level of prematurity is often harmful to the child, some of them do make it. In general, we use the 24th week of pregnancy as the cut off for when a child can survive. Any birth before the 24th week is unlikely to live. Strictly speaking, a term birth is considered to be 39 weeks. Anything over 41 weeks is considered post-term or late and anything before 37 weeks is considered to be pre-term or early. The majority of pre-term births occur between 33 and 37 weeks. In these babies the main symptom they have is breathing problems. We prepare for that by giving the mother medications to help the baby's lungs mature when we know they will be premature. Most pre-term babies need to spend time in the intensive care unit to gain strength. Keep in mind that these very early pre-term births are not all that common. Thus, you should continue to have regular checkups with your OBGYN. As long as everything has been fine with you and your baby, then it is unlikely that you will have to worry about having the baby that early.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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