what are the chances for a 21 1/2 weeker?

  1. Hi, I'm browsing, in from pg boards elsewhere. A woman there is having her baby very earlyThe baby is causing life threatening probs to Mom( high BP, bleeding etc) I started browsing here when I was about to start Nursing school. Change of plans, now I'm pg w/ #2, but still would like to go back someday, prob this field. Anyway, just curious about the little one's chances. I'm not passing this info along, just curious for myself. Thanks!

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    About jen74

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 9


  3. by   sbic56
    I'd say the chances of survival are very slim to none.
  4. by   KRVRN
  5. by   NicuGal
    None...and I don't think I would want it to survive
  6. by   prmenrs
    You have to consider the stage of development of the lungs. At this point they haven't developed alveoli yet. It will take 2-3 more weeks to even have anything available for gas exchange. Until that happens, the baby is non-viable.

    I'm sorry for her.
  7. by   KRVRN
    Any chance the dates are about 2 or 3 weeks off in favor of the baby being older?
  8. by   NICU_Nurse
    As far as I'm aware, I don't know of a single incidence where MD's have opted for life-saving interventions for a baby younger than about 23 weeks. This is usually the minimum allowable growth before an infant is considered 'compatible with life'. Any younger than that and their bodies simply aren't formed enough to live, even with support like ventilators, etc. Depending on the baby's particular circumstances, 23-24 weeks is the usual BARE MINIMUM date for viable delivery, and even then, you are opening the situation up to a number of endings, not all of them good- severe lung disease, infection, neurological disorders (some of them profound), etc. The doctors, in these cases, will attempt to prolong the pregnancy as long as feasible- the longer the baby is in mom, the chances for survivial and a certain quality of life improve (statistically, anyway). If the baby is a danger to mom, the pregnancy will usually be terminated, even at such a 'late' stage.

    This web site can give you more information regarding chances for survival:


    As you can see, a baby born at 21 weeks has an estimated 0% chance of survival. One week later, the chance rises to an estimated 10%. By the 23 week, the chance for survival jumps from an estimated max of 10% to 40%. That's an almost 50% increase in a mere two weeks more of pregnancy. I hope and pray, for her and her family, that she and her baby manage to hang in there, and though it is of little comfort to someone in such a horrible and heart-wrenching situation, they will be in my thoughts.

    I'm terribly sorry for your friend. She'll be in my prayers tonight.