Premature Baby


Premature Baby Infection

It is a big threat to premature infants because they're less able than full-term infants to fight germs that can cause serious illness. It can come from the mother before birth, during the process of birth, or after birth. Practically any body part can become infected. Reducing the risk is why frequent hand washing is necessary in the NICU. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Other medications are prescribed to treat viral and fungal infections.

Premature babies have immature immune systems that are inefficient at fighting off bacteria, viruses and other organisms that can cause illness. Serious infections that are commonly seen in premature babies include pneumonia (lung infection), sepsis (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord). Babies can contract these infections at birth from their mother, or they may become infected after birth. Infections are treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs.



  1. Martin, J.A., et al. Births: Final Data for 2004. National Vital Statistics Reports, volume 55, number 1, September 29, 2006.

  2. Iams, J.D. The Epidemiology of Preterm Birth. Clinics in Perinatology, volume 30, 2003, pages 651-654.

  3. Martin, J.A., et al. Births: Final Data for 2003. National Vital Statistics Reports, volume 54, number 2, September 8, 2005.

  4. Analysis by March of Dimes Perinatal Center.

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