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[Published: Thursday August 26 2010]

Babies born a few weeks early risk breathing problems

Babies born at 34 weeks were 40 times more likely to suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, a severe lung disease in newborns, when compared with those born at term, American researchers found.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found this risk reduced with each week gestation.

Lead author Dr Judith Hibbard, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, said: "Even at 37 weeks, the odds of RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome) were still threefold greater than that of a 39 or 40-week birth. (ANA)

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