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Women and Family Care

37 Week Infant

Babies born at 37 weeks gestation sometimes have different needs than babies born later. En Español.
Congratulations on the birth of your baby! While babies are generally considered full-term at 37 weeks gestation, they sometimes have different needs. Here are some commonly asked questions to help you understand your baby.

My baby looks like a typical newborn. Why is there special concern about my baby's well being?

In the last six weeks of pregnancy, babies usually gain about a half pound per week. Infants born a few weeks early are typically smaller than full-term babies. Recent studies show that babies born early are at increased risk for feeding fatigue and jaundice.

What are the special concerns related to feeding my baby?

Babies born at 37 weeks can tend to feed slower, taking in less breast milk per feeding, and may need to be fed more often than full-term infants. Sometimes it is difficult for these babies to breast-feed vigorously enough to adequately establish a mother's milk supply or to get enough milk to gain weight. A certified lactation counselor will meet with you to discuss the best plan for establishing and maintaining your milk supply. We will work with you to design a customized feeding plan for your baby.

Why is my infant at higher risk for jaundice?

Babies born before 39 weeks gestation are at a greater risk of developing severe jaundice than full-term infants. Jaundice can cause severe neurological damage if it's not identified and treated early. Your baby will be closely monitored for jaundice while in the hospital. Your baby may need follow-up care once you are home if their skin becomes or continues to become yellow.

If you have any further questions, please contact your baby's primary healthcare provider.

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