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Keywords

Late preterm, Nursing care, Preterm birth

 

Authors

  1. Shaw, Rebecca Riesser MSN, RN

Abstract

Late preterm infants are those born between 34 and 36 6/7 completed weeks' gestation. In the last decade, late preterm infants have become the fastest growing subset of preterm infants and now account for 74% of all preterm births. They are at greater risk for feeding problems, dehydration, hypothermia, jaundice, and hypoglycemia and are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the first weeks after birth and accrue greater healthcare costs as a result. Despite the alarming growth of this population and the acknowledgment of increased risk in the literature, there is limited information available to the clinical nurse and few evidence-based guidelines to direct the care of these infants specifically. This article describes what is known to date about this issue and what nurses need to do to appropriately care for late preterm infants.