If you have a baby born at 30 weeks, they will be classed as early preterm.
They’ll likely need help breathing and feeding, and will need to spend some time in specialist care.
However you’re feeling, mama, we’re right here with you.
At 30 weeks pregnant, you might have the next 10 weeks of your calendar prepped with lunch dates, nursery decorating, and prenatal classes before the big B-Day arrives.
But your baby might have other ideas!
Preterm babies ‒ that’s babies born before becoming early term at 37 weeks, full term at 39 weekslate term at 41 weeks, or postterm at 42 weeks ‒ made up 10.5% of births in the US in 2021.
But the idea of having a preemie can be daunting.
Thankfully, modern medicine practices are progressing all the time to provide better care for premature babies, so even the tiniest of preemies can get the best chance of living long and healthy lives.
As with all baby-related info, there is a huge range of “normal” outcomes.
Remember that you and your baby are unique, and use this as a guide to the types of things you might face if your baby decides to arrive early.
So, what complications might we need to consider, and what’s the survival rate at 30 weeks pregnant?
Whatever your questions, we’re here to give you all the info you need to know about babies born at 30 weeks.
In this article: 📝
- What does a 30-week preemie look like?
- What happens if a baby is born at 30 weeks?
- Do babies born at 30 weeks need NICU?
- Will a baby be OK if born at 30 weeks?
- What are the risks of a baby born at 30 weeks?
- Can babies born at 30 weeks breathe on their own?
- When do 30-week preemies catch up?
What does a 30-week preemie look like?
If you search for “baby born at 30 weeks pictures”, you won’t see the typical chubby-cheeked newborn we all expect at birth.
Instead, a baby born at 30 weeks won’t have much fat stored beneath their skin, so their skin might look translucent, and they will be very, very delicate.
They will be much smaller than a baby born at 40 weeks, though their head may be disproportionately large compared to their body.
Baby born at 30 weeks pictures
How much does a 30-week fetus weigh?
The average weight of a baby born at 30 weeks is around 3 pounds (about 1.3kgs), and they may only be about 15.5 inches (39cms) long.
What happens if a baby is born at 30 weeks?
A baby born at 30 weeks gestation is classed as “early preterm” in the medical world and is likely to need immediate medical attention after birth.
All of their limbs and external body parts will be formed, so any complications they may have will be due to their internal systems being underdeveloped.
They will probably require help breathing, feeding, fighting off infections, and staying warm.
Do babies born at 30 weeks need NICU?
The exact care they require will be individual, but they’ll spend at least a few weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) while they grow and get stronger.
It’s common for a baby born at 30 weeks to be discharged from the hospital just before or around their original due date once they’ve met certain health and developmental milestones, as determined by their doctor.
How long will a baby born at 30 weeks stay in NICU?
There’s no specific rule as to how long a baby born at 30 weeks will stay at NICU, but on average, they can expect to stay for around 30 days before their due date.
So if baby is born at 30 weeks, their estimated due date (40 weeks) would be 10 weeks in the future.
So they could be in the NICU for roughly 6 weeks.
When do 30-week preemies go home?
Babies born at 30 weeks usually go home after about 6 weeks in NICU, but it can be as little as 3 weeks, depending on their growth.
Will a baby be OK if born at 30 weeks?
It can be nerve-wracking having a baby born at 30 weeks, but the chances are in baby’s favor.
They will very likely need to stay in NICU for at least 3 weeks (usually up to an average of 6 weeks) before they can come home.
And there’s a chance that they may have developmental delays as they grow up, but your doctor will talk you through the potential impact of baby being born at 30 weeks.
What is the survival rate of a 30-week preemie?
A recent American study records the baby born at 30 weeks survival rate to be as high as 98.5%, so the chances are very good that your little one born at 30 weeks will be OK.
Though their survival rate is excellent, they may have a higher chance of having some developmental delays later down the track, or issues with things like vision or hearing, than babies born closer to their due date.
Can a 30-week preemie see?
Usually, yes, although some babies can’t see until about 34 weeks.
If your baby born at 30 weeks can see, it’ll be a very short distance.
So hearing your voice is likely to be more soothing for them than seeing your face right now.
What are the risks of a baby born at 30 weeks?
There are a few ways in which being born at 30 weeks can impact baby’s health:
- They may have hypothermia, because their body can’t regulate temperature well at this point.
- They may have difficulty breathing on their own, and may need the help of a ventilator.
- They may have a brain hemorrhage, although more often than not, this is not the case.
- They may have heart issues, like a murmur.
- They may have issues digesting breast milk and food later on.
- They may be susceptible to jaundice.
- They might have a weakened immune system.
- They may be more susceptible to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Delivering at 30 weeks may also pose risks to you and your health:
- Increased risk of postpartum anxiety.
- Increased risk of postpartum depression.
- Potential post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Increased risk of postpartum complications, like bleeding, infections, or breastfeeding issues.
- It can take a bit more time to develop maternal feelings toward your baby.
This can sound pretty scary, we know.
But these are the potential risks ‒ they’re not guaranteed to happen.
And the majority of babies born at 30 weeks go on to be happy and healthy, just like their moms.
Can babies born at 30 weeks breathe on their own?
In some cases, yes, they can.
But respiratory problems are one of the biggest concerns for doctors of premature babies.
If your baby is struggling to breathe by themselves, they will get the help of a ventilator, which can look scary, but is just what they need to get started in the big wide world.
Are babies’ lungs developed at 30 weeks?
At around 26 weeks gestation, the lower lungs develop and little air sacs called alveoli will form, but they are not fully formed until around week 36.
So, at 30 weeks the lungs may not be big or strong enough to breathe by themselves.
If an early delivery is anticipated, your obstetrics team will likely give you an injection to help with fetal lung maturity.
It’s also common for babies born at 30 weeks to be fed by a tube and have various IV lines to give them fluids and medications to fight off infections.
When do 30-week preemies catch up?
It can take quite a while for any premature baby to catch up to non-preemie babies.
But usually, they’ll be developmentally similar to other children of the same age at about 12 months to 3 years old.
Now that’s a pretty big age range, but that’s because, even with babies who aren’t premature, there’s no such thing as a strict milestone schedule, although there are suggestions from the CDC, but these shouldn’t be considered “developmental guidelines or standard for children’s development”.
Having a baby in the NICU can be a scary and isolating experience, but chatting with other preemie Peanut mamas can help.
Your baby born at 30 weeks might be tiny and fragile, and your start to mama-hood might not be the way you planned, but the chances are excellent that your baby will be just fine.
You got this.
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