Pinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden Image

In this article, you’ll find up-to-date statistics on premature baby survival rate by week from pregnancy week 22 and on. And I’ll tell you a little bit about my own journey too. If you want to share yours, please do by leaving a comment below the article.


premature baby survival rate by week of pregnancyPin

Being at risk for a premature birth of your baby can be extremely stressful. I know because I’ve been there! However, the premature survival rate by week of pregnancy provides hope! Most babies really do survive even if being born very early!

First a bit about my story of almost giving birth in week 25:

When I was pregnant with my first child, I involuntarily got to learn about premature baby survival rate by week of pregnancy.

You have probably read in the newspapers about babies miraculously born and saved as early as after 22 weeks of pregnancy. A few years ago, a baby in Germany actually survived being born before the end of week 22, which is a new record.

When I came in by ambulance to the hospital, having contractions three minutes apart and dilating (and in a complete panic) in week 26 of my pregnancy, the doctors and midwives were wonderful (and smart):

“Oh, week 26, they said, that’s a big baby, no worries. (But try keeping her inside for as long as you can.”

They wanted to calm me down since stress is a known factor involved in preterm labor. And it worked. I did feel slightly less panicked.

And my baby, predicted by all involved doctors to be born within hours, actually stayed in my womb until week 37. A small miracle. (And a lot of lying down on my part.)

In this article, I have gathered statistics from the available research on baby survival rates per week during pregnancy from week 22 completed to week 33. During these weeks, the chance of survival increases on average from 21% to 100%.

Of course, statistics are just numbers, and each case of preterm labor is special. Nevertheless, these percentages do say something about our little babies’ chances of survival if the pregnancy ends much too soon.

If you are reading this, you might be in the very stressful situation of either being at risk for preterm labor or having already given birth to a preemie. In such a case, my heart goes out to you!

Feel free to leave a comment to share your thoughts and experiences at the bottom of this article.

in which week can a premature baby survivePin

Baby’s Chances of Survival If Born Early Week By Week

Survival Possibilities For Extremely Premature Babies

When can a pregnant mom breathe out in relief? In what week is her baby big enough to survive preterm labor and hopefully develop normally in the future?

The answer isn’t all that simple. It turns out that it isn’t only the week of pregnancy, but also the weight of the baby that determines the chance of survival (if assuming that the child is healthy).

In addition, researchers have recently also been able to pinpoint two additional factors that contribute to the chances of survival for a particular child: the gender and whether or not the mother received ante-natal steroids before the baby was born. The latter is a medicine that promotes lung development in the baby.

But disregarding the effect of all these different factors, you’ll find the average survival rates week by week below for extremely premature babies that received mechanical breathing help, which is necessary for survival for extremely premature babies. (Statistics for older babies follow below)

Survival Rates For Extremely Premature Babies

  • 22 weeks completed: 21% survival
  • 23 weeks completed: 37% survival
  • 24 weeks completed: 60% survival
  • 25 weeks completed: 77% survival

Source: NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN): Extremely Preterm Birth Outcomes Tool
Note: 22 pregnancy weeks completed, means that you have entered the 23 week of pregnancy and so on.

The factors influencing the survival rates

Babies that are heavier than the average, are girls, singleton (i.e., not twins or more), and/or where mom receives ante-natal steroids in time have tended to have higher chances of survival than the above figures, generally speaking.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has developed a tool, where doctors and parents can get a rough guide to potential premature survival rates in their particular situation. You can try the tool here. But please remember that it is NOT intended to project the outcome for individual infants!

Premature Baby Survival Rate By Week For All Premature Babies

Survival rates for extremely early preterm babies have improved dramatically over the past 15 years. In 1995, practically no children survived when born as early as 22 weeks gestation age, while in 2008, 21% survived, as seen above.

The most dramatic improvement has been noted among infants born in week 24 and week 25. In 1995 24% of the infants born in week 24 survived, while the rate in 2005 was 41%. In 2008, the share had risen to 60%, according to the above study.

The earliest born babies, at pregnancy weeks 22 and 23, however, are apparently still complicated to save. Even though survival rates have also improved for these children, the survival rate almost doubles between gestation week 23 and week 24.

After these very critical, the earliest weeks of survival for extremely premature babies, premature survival rates rise rapidly. Putting together the statistics above with data from Pediatrix Medical Group in 2005, you’ll find survival rates for premature babies week by week as follows:

Premature Baby Survival Rate By Week

(These statisics can be found as an image at the end of this article, for you to save if you want.)

  • 22 weeks completed: 21% survival
  • 23 weeks completed: 37% survival
  • 24 weeks completed: 60% survival
  • 25 weeks completed: 77% survival
  • 26 weeks completed: 85% survival
  • 27 weeks completed: 91% survival
  • 28 weeks completed: 95% survival
  • 29 weeks completed: 97% survival
  • 30 weeks completed: 98% survival
  • 31 weeks completed: 99% survival
  • 32 weeks completed: 100% survival
  • 33 weeks completed (and on): 100% survival

Source: NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN): Extremely Preterm Birth Outcome Data
Statistics from Pediatrix Medical Group, 2005, reprinted by Merck Manuals
Note: 22 pregnancy weeks completed, means that you have entered the 23 week of pregnancy and so on.

Conclusions and Thoughts

Going back to my own situation, the doctors gave me a few landmarks to strive for. The first one was to keep my baby in for 12 hours. If I managed that, the ante-natal steroids injection would have helped mature my baby’s lungs to facilitate breathing.

The second milestone, when things started to calm down (I was still in the hospital medicated through an intravenous drip and ordered complete bed rest), was to get as close as possible to full week 28. Babies born after 28 full weeks tend almost always to survive, and the risk of serious brain and lung damage falls sharply.

The next goal was 32 weeks completed. By then, a (healthy) baby will most likely be born with no permanent injuries at all.

Finally, 35 weeks. After that, most babies are more or less ready to be born. They may be a bit skinny and need help to suckle, but with a little assistance, they are just fine.

SO when to take that deep sigh of relief?

I’d say when you enter week 28 of pregnancy, chances are huge that you will bring home a healthy baby regardless of when labor sets in. But compared to some 10 years ago, giving birth to a baby already in pregnancy week 24 or 25, your baby stands a very good chance of surviving with the right neonatal care.


Resources for Preemie Care

I hope you found this information on premature baby survival rate by week and factors useful. At least for me, reading and learning about what to expect from my little (potential) preemie helped me prepare mentally and feel calmer – which, in turn, maybe, helped keep my daughter inside of me longer, who knows.

Here are some useful resources if you want to learn more. (Book links to Amazon, where you can read more.)

Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below. :-)

premature baby survival rates by weekPin


NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN).Extremely Preterm Birth Outcomes Tool Last Reviewed Date3/2/2020

Arcangela Lattari Balest, MD, Preterm Infants, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Shirley

    Hi my name is Shirley ,im 72 years old and was born in the early 50’s a premature baby at 7 months . My mother has told me that i was in the hospital for around 3 months before i came home .I was born in the south.Today i am the mother of 3, grandmother of 7 and 1 due next month,17 greatgrandchildren. my daughter the eldest of my children had twin girls that were premature .she was at the end of her 6 month when she gave birth sadly one of her babies only lived for 12 days and her other baby girl,had many complications but today she is 34 years old married and attending nursing school. We both share being born premature.From my childhood to now i was rarely sick and i was told at one time that premature babies born that early survial rate was low.Just read your article and wanted to share my story with you…GOD BLESS

    1. Paula @ easybabylife

      Hi Shirley,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story! Amazing to hear that everything went so well already in the 1950s! Very sad that only one the twins survived, but also so great that the twin that did survive such a very premature birth is now doing so well. You seem to have a large, wonderful family. Truly blessed! Thanks again, and take care!

  2. Evelyn

    Hello,am by name Evelyn, I have gone through your article it was very interesting because that’s exactly what am passing through now,I got into premature labour which resulted in giving birth to a 24weeks old baby,but my question here is what is the chances of the baby surviving because we don’t have money to provide for everything needed for him,and his weight at birth is 0.75,please kindly tell me what to do at this situation.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Evelyn,
      I am so sorry to hear about your situation. When was your baby born? There is no way anyone but your baby’s doctors can assess your child’s situation. Being born at 24 weeks is very early and your baby does need prenatal intensive care for quite some time. One thing I think you should do immediately is to have a long and thorough conversation with your baby’s doctor about things you can do at home or yourself to help your baby thrive.

      For example, once possible, you can and should most likely practice kangaroo care. This involves skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding (if possible), and has been shown in research to reduce premature mortality significantly. New research indicates that an early start of kangaroo care increases premature survival even more, but, of course, it all depends on when your baby is stable enough to be moved out of the incubator for periods of time.

      You can read more about kangaroo care here.

      Again, make sure to talk as much as you can with your baby’s health care providers.

      I don’t know where you live, but since you seem to have to pay for some of your baby’s care, make sure to ask around for what type of support may be available, such as insurance, special support for very premature infants, or other possible sources.

      If you live in the US, your baby should be eligible for Social Security Benefits, due to his birth weight. You should apply immediately. Find more information here.

      Two additional possibilities to check out are:

      Again, these are all US programs, but if you live somewhere else, similar support may be available.

      I really hope everything will turn out fine. It is quite traumatic to give birth so early, so I hope you find help for your own feelings as well.

      Take care and let me know about your son’s progress.


  3. Isaac

    I’m 21 and have had no trouble with my lungs or any issues at all but I 100% don’t look 21 and am quite little.
    My dad told me tonight that I was born at 19 weeks but from everything I’ve read it can’t be true, also said I was 7 pounds at birth kinda just felt like I needed to post this somewhere
    I’ll just have to go into our hospital to find out, gotta love an unreliable dad

  4. Paula @easybabylife

    Oh, SO MUCH keeping my fingers crossed!! How are you doing?

  5. malibuugirl

    I remember sweating out these weeks, esp. 22-26 b/c I knew how precarious the situation is those weeks. I gave birth to my twins at 35w6d so right on the cusp of 36 weeks. Even then, one was just 4 lbs 4 ozs. Had I given birth even at 26-28 weeks, it would have been bad w/ twins. As it was, I got 2 steroid injections 48 hours apart to improve their lungs and one stayed in NICU one week to get her weight up. No other issues, fortunately.

  6. Martín Querio

    I am 20 years old, I was born at 22 weeks with severely underdeveloped lungs and my mother was told I had very little chance of surviving. Keep in mind, this was back in 1996, I was put on NICU and my mother did not get to hold me for another 3 weeks after I was born. Long story short, I ended up just fine and I have grown up happy and healthy with the only repercussion being slight asthma and that was almost 21 years ago and I am almost done with college. There is plenty of hope for your premature child.

    1. Paula @easybabylife

      Hi Martin,
      Thank you so much for taking the time share your story! Super valuable for any terrified parent with a preemie. Born at 22 weeks is VERY early! You are lucky for sure to be doing so well. Wonderful!

    2. Venny

      thank you so much for sharing this. My son Noah was born 22 weeks and 6 days. Just 34 days ago. He is still on a jet vent and of course his lungs were very under developed. In the first 3 weeks of life he has endured a stage 1 brain bleed, pneumonia, sepsis from e. coli in his lungs and blood, so far 9 blood transfusions and being transferred to another hospital’s NICU to have a surgery to prevent any chance of Stage 3 NEC on his intestines and had it drained from a large cist that grew. He is now over 1 month old and is still maintaining. I am thankful for our miracle child everyday.

      1. Paula @easybabylife

        Hi Venny,
        I can’t even imagine hard this must be to go through! What an amazingly strong little boy you have! Let me know how things develop. 34 days old now. Wonderful! Crossing my fingers so hard for all of you!

  7. Erika Breitz

    Hi. My name is Erika. It I’d Saturday on November 26th @ 1:35 am. I an actually currently in the hospital l, I just gave birth through an emergency C- section. I was only 23 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I was pregnant with twins. I gave birth to a boy and girl, they just got transfered to a better NICU , I didn’t even get to hold them. My boy went first and was air lifted to the nearest NICU specialists in Fresno, California. They let me see my Daughter before the took her, I believe by ambulance furle to the poor weather. The doctors are saying that me little girl has a less chance of surviving the day due to poot temperature circulation, and she is having a difficult time being able to maintain oxygen even with the tubes. They were born about 1:00 in the afternoon on the 25th, both are about 10-11 inches long, my girl weighs 1pound and 5 ounces and my boy weighs 1 pound 4 ounces. I am scared for my little girl , cause she may not make it…. But I’m keeping my head high, and waiting to take them both home, healthy, and happy. Any tips, comments, or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Paula @easybabylife

      Hi Erika,
      My heart goes out to you and your babies! I bet you are counting minutes and hours. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to be lying in another hospital just waiting and hoping. Are your babies in the same place? And will you be transferred there too? It is great that your babies were immediately taken to NICU specialists! I was too, by ambulance twice to two different hospitals when fighting to keep my baby in the womb. I do hope both your babies will make it! You are in for a long ride before they are strong and can go home, and then before they have caught up with kids of the same age, but that’s just part of life, right? I don’t have any particular advice; your babies are where they should be. Maybe only if you can get there, to ask if/when you can start kangoroo care your babies. ( When my sister gave birth 2 months early this was part of the care plan. She and her husband spent lots of time skin-to-skin with their son and it was amazing how stable his heartbeat and breathing were when he was close to his parents. But I don’t know how strong a baby must be before this is possible. But read up on that and/or ask.

      Please let me know how things go for you all!

      Hugs, Paula

  8. Heather Lopez

    Great article!!!! I had my identical twin girls at 22 weeks and 5 days. My youngest twin passed away at 2 weeks old. But my oldest is doing great!!!! She is delayed physically as far as size and weight. But other then that she is perfectly healthy.

    1. Paula Dennholt

      How both fantastic and sad at the same time! Twins being born that early is really early. How much did she weigh when newborn? Wonderful to hear that your daughter is doing great! :-)

  9. Barry

    Big Thanks for this article ,help a lot … wife gave birth through c-section to our first baby @ 29 weeks … It makes me feel terrible , now she is 17 days old . Although she is still in the NICU Room , i can see she is getting well …. Cant wait to bring her Home …