The NICU experience

Listed below are books and Web resources that help parents learn about parenting their premature baby in the NICU.

  • March of Dimes Share Your Story
    An online community that serves NICU families. Share your story, participate in online discussions, meet other NICU families.
  • Evan Early, by Rebecca Hogue Wojahn. (Woodbine House, 2006). (children's book)
  • Infants in the NICU: A Developmental Care Guide for Families, by Dana Fern and Christy Graves (Respironics, 1996).
  • Newborn Intensive Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know, by Jeanette Zaichkin (NICU Ink, 1996).
  • Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies, by Dana Wechsler Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli, and Mia Wechsler Doron, M.D. (Pocket Books, 2000).
  • Parenting Your Premature Baby and Child: The Emotional Journey, by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D., and Mara Tesler Stein, Psy.D. (Fulcrum Publishing, 2004).
  • The Preemie Parents' Companion: The Essential Guide to Caring for Your Premature Baby in the Hospital, at Home and Through the First Year, by Susan L. Madden, William Sears, M.D., and Jane E. Stewart, M.D. (Harvard Common Press, 2000).

August 2009

Most common questions

How do I calculate adjusted age for preemies?

Chronological age is the age of a baby from the day of birth. Adjusted age is the age of the baby based on his due date. To calculate adjusted age, take your baby's chronological age (for example, 20 weeks) and subtract the number of weeks premature the baby was (6 weeks). This baby's adjusted age (20 - 6) is 14 weeks. Health care providers may use this age when they evaluate the baby's growth and development. Most premature babies catch up to their peers developmentally in 2 to 3 years. After that, differences in size or development are most likely due to individual differences, rather than to premature birth. Some very small babies take longer to catch up.

What does it mean if a baby is born “late preterm?”

Late preterm means that a baby is born after 34 weeks but before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It's important to try to have your baby as close to 39 weeks of pregnancy as possible. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your baby's organs, like his brains, lungs and liver, are still growing. Waiting until you're at least 39 weeks also gives your baby time to gain more weight and makes him less likely to have vision and hearing problems after birth. Your baby will also be better able to suck and swallow and stay awake long enough to eat after he's born. Babies born early sometimes can't do these things.

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