A premature baby is one who is born too early, before 37 weeks.
A new research finds that most premature kids are ready to begin kindergarten on time and that they perform as well as full-termers in primary and middle school.
In general, the outlook for premature babies has improved steadily since the 1960s, with the minimum age of viability falling by at least one gestational week per decade. That means that while the survival of a preemie born at 32 weeks was once a very uncertain thing, 95% or more of those babies now make it home from the hospital healthy and well. For kids born at 25 weeks, the odds are still 76%, but they fall after that to 56% at 24 weeks, 26% at 23 weeks and just 5% at 22 weeks.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), most premature babies, including the ones at the extremes, are ready to begin kindergarten on time and perform as well as full-termers in primary and middle school. Some even score high enough on standardized tests to be considered gifted.