The challenges faced by preemies and when they "catch up"

Pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, explains the challenges most often faced by babies born prematurely and shares advice on when they usually "catch up" to full-term babies in their development
Challenges Faced By Preemies & When Do Preemies "Catch Up"
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The challenges faced by preemies and when they "catch up"

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A baby that is born before 37 weeks of age is considered premature. Some premature babies are born looking just like full-term babies. Some are born so early that they can have other issues because their lungs aren’t fully developed yet. How your premature baby does depends on when their born or what the problems they have after they were born. With excellent neonatologist and NICUs and all of the modern techonologies, premature babies do very well. We have excellent ways of helping them, live and continue their lives out the womb until they reach the point when they able to go home just as the full-term baby would. By the time your baby goes home with you, often they’re fine. Sometimes they may need medications, they may need some oxygen or they may need to be followed by specialist depending on what issues they have. Once your baby is eating on their own and breathing on their own, they usually catch up fairly quickly. Parents will often ask me when we’re looking at the growth charts, when will my preterm baby catch up to regular babies of their own age. Generally that happened some time in the first year of age. They may start up below the growth chart for height and weight, but with time as long as you keep feeding them especially breastfeeding them, they will catch up usually by around 1 year of age.

Pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, explains the challenges most often faced by babies born prematurely and shares advice on when they usually "catch up" to full-term babies in their development

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Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician

A leading medical authority for the popular press and entertainment industry, Dr. Tanya Altmann is a best-selling author, parenting expert and media spokesperson. A working mother and UCLA-trained pediatrician who practices in Southern California, Dr. Tanya is a designated spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, communicating complicated medical issues into easily understood concepts.  She is a child health expert for numerous news programs and talk shows including Today (NBC), and KTLA (CW Los Angeles). She stays on the cutting edge through her position as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, as the Chief Medical Advisor for the Newborn Channel and her private practice.

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