By 31 to 32 weeks, premature babies weigh between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds and are between 18 and 19 inches long. That's almost as long as a baby born at term! Premature babies born at 31 and 32 weeks are called moderately preterm babies. Although they're still immature at birth and will require several weeks of NICU care, most 31 and 32 weekers quickly catch up to their peers and have few long term effects of prematurity.
Between 31 and 32 weeks, babies gain a lot of body fat. Premature babies born at this age are starting to look plump and may be able to maintain a good body temperature without the help of an incubator. They use all 5 senses to learn about their environments.
Parents usually want to know when their babies can come home from the NICU. Before discharge, there are several milestones that premature babies must reach: they need to be able to eat, breathe, and stay warm without any help from NICU staff or equipment. Preemies born at 31 and 32 weeks may be able to do one or two of these things at birth, but it will take time to reach all three milestones.