What are the chances that my baby will survive?

Many factors determine an individual baby's chances of survival. The most important of these are:

In the smallest infants, gestational age is usually most important because it determines if the infant's organs, particularly the lungs, have developed enough to allow the baby to live within the limits of our current technology. Your baby's doctor will be able to give you the best estimate of your infant's chances since he/she can take into consideration many of the above factors. But, no estimate is perfect. Some babies suddenly get sick and die unexpectedly; others defy all odds. General estimates of survival for live born infants who receive neonatal intensive care in the USA in the late1990's are:

COMPLETED WEEKS OF GESTATION AT BIRTH

(using last menstrual period)

CHANCE OF SURVIVAL

21 weeks and less

0%

22 weeks

0-10%*

23 weeks

10-35%

24 weeks

40-70%

25 weeks

50-80%

26 weeks

80-90%

27 weeks

>90%

30 weeks

>95%

34 weeks

>98%

* Most babies at 22 weeks are not resuscitated because survival without major disability is so rare.

A baby's chances for survival increases 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of gestation. After 26 weeks the rate of survival increases at a much slower rate because survival is high already.


What other factors influence survival?

Other factors may influence survival by altering the rate of organ maturation or by changing the supply of oxygen to the developing fetus.