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September 10, 1955


JAMA. 1955;159(2):116. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960190022009

Although there is some dissatisfaction with the grouping of all infants, including those in multiple births, whose birth weight is 2,500 gm. (5.5 lb.) or less as premature infants, this is still the most practical definition. Improved treatment has done much to save the lives of premature infants, but deaths in the first four weeks of life still occur at a high rate in these infants.1 The greatest hope at present lies in preventing births from occurring prematurely. Every added week of gestation beyond the 28th week means a gain of 4 to 8 oz. (113.4 to 226.8 gm.) for the fetus, and every gain of 8 oz. cuts the expected death rate in half. The obstetrician can, therefore, do much to prevent prematurity by delaying delivery in patients who have not reached full term and by vigorous treatment of conditions that threaten to terminate pregnancy prematurely. It has

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