Viability Day. Today I am 24 weeks pregnant, which means that if I were to go into labor and deliver today, my baby would have a ~50% chance of survival, and most neonatal intensive care units would be willing to accept my baby as a patient and try to save its life.
It’s hard to pinpoint the gestational age of the youngest baby ever born, since those estimates are dependent on mom’s testimony as to her LMP and/or ovulation date. Some babies that have been listed as having been saved at a certain age were conceived via IVF, wherein the “age” given is really the gestational age rather than the age from LMP that most doctors use—so we’d have to add on 2 weeks to get a more normative age. However, it seems that babies have been saved as young as 21 weeks and some change, which is less than 20 gestational weeks, so that’s pretty incredible.
That said, most hospitals have guidelines on when they will attempt to save a premature baby’s life, setting 23-25 weeks as the minimum limit. Neonatal intensive care is incredibly expensive, and survival rates prior to 23 weeks are abysmal, so I kind of get it even if I don’t like it.
In any case, there is something comforting about reaching the point where I know that, if I go into labor prematurely, all is not lost and my baby has a chance (especially since my baby is measuring a week ahead in spite of its gestational age). For the next two weeks, my baby’s survival odds will increase by 2-3% per day until they reach 80%. For one more week, the odds will increase by 1-2% per day until they reach 90%. After that, things slow down quite a bit, topping out at 95% at 30 weeks and 98% at 34 weeks.
So here’s to you, Ivytine*, for getting closer and closer to the point where you can be safe outside of your mommy!