PEDIATRICS: Updates on an At-Risk Population: Late-Preterm and Early-Term Infants


The American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical report on late-preterm (LPT) infants in 2007 that was largely based on a summary of a 2005 workshop convened by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, at which a change in terminology from “near term” to “late preterm” was proposed. This paradigm-shifting recommendation had a remarkable impact: federal agencies (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), professional societies (the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), and organizations (March of Dimes) initiated nationwide monitoring and educational plans that had a significant effect on decreasing the rates of iatrogenic LPT deliveries. However, there is now an evolving concern. After nearly a decade of steady decreases in the LPT birth rate that largely contributed to the decline in total US preterm birth rates, the birth rate in LPT infants has been inching upward since 2015. In addition, evidence revealed by strong population health research demonstrates that being born as an early-term infant poses a significant risk to an infant’s survival, growth, and development. In this report, we summarize the initial progress and discuss the potential reasons for the current trends in LPT and early-term birth rates and propose research recommendations.

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Reference:Dan L. Stewart, Wanda D. Barfield and COMMITTEE ON FETUS AND NEWBORN. Updates on an At-Risk Population: Late-Preterm and Early-Term Infants. Pediatrics, November 2019, 144 (5)