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Rooming-in organization to prevent neonatal mortality and morbidity in late preterm infants

Despite most infants born at 34+0 through 36+7 weeks’ gestation are thought to be at low risk during the birth hospitalization and have a neonatal course with no significant complications, they are physiologically and metabolically immature with an higher rates of morbidity and mortality than term infants [1].

Most common medical condition associated with late-preterm births are respiratory distress, apnea, temperature instability, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, jaundice, poor feeding, sepsis and finally an higher rates of the hospital readmissions during the neonatal period. These morbidities result in workup for sepsis evaluations, antibiotic therapy, intravenous fluid administration, ventilatory support and increased length of stay with higher hospital costs [2].

Rooming-in organization of late preterms births aims to assess and identify risk factors, prevent and manage potential medical complications during hospitalization. Interventions and practices reccomended are illustred in table 1.

Table 1 Assessment and care of the late preterm infant [3].

Evidence of physiologic maturity, feeding competency, thermoregulation and absence of medical of medical illness are minimum discharge criteria for late-preterm newborns. Furthermore it’s of great importance to assess educational programs with special instruction and guidance to parents, engaging families in providing appropriate home care after hospital discharge. A long term follow-up arrangements is also recommended to assess and plan early interventions in case of neurodevelopment delay [4].

We conclude that, based on the significant morbidity and mortality of late preterm births, the health care focus on prematurity should be expanded to include the late preterm period.


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Correspondence to Mariano Manzionna.

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Manzionna, M., Di Mauro, A. Rooming-in organization to prevent neonatal mortality and morbidity in late preterm infants. Ital J Pediatr 40 (Suppl 2), A4 (2014).

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