A late preterm infant is defined as one born between 34 and 36 6/7 weeks of completed gestation. The rate of late preterm births has risen 18 percent since the late 1990s. Data are beginning to emerge concerning morbidity rates and the risks these newborns face with regard to feeding difficulties, temperature instability, hypoglycemia, and hyperbilirubinemia. Feeding challenges place these vulnerable infants at risk for prolonged hospital stays and readmission after discharge. To better address the unique needs of late preterm infants, providers should establish individual feeding orders. This article offers research-based suggestions for caring for these infants in the newborn nursery and the postpartum unit as well as parent teaching guidelines.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2010