Table of contents:
- Premature Birth & Development
- When do we speak of a premature birth?
- Multi-professional aftercare
- Targeted development support
Premature Birth & Development
If a child is born prematurely, parents often ask themselves many questions. Will my child develop normally? How can I support it in its development? From the very beginning, multidisciplinary specialists in the hospitals have supported mother and father in dealing with the issue of premature birth.
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When do we speak of a premature birth?
If a child is born before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered a premature baby. When observing and assessing the development, the so-called corrected age is used until the age of three. This is the age that results from subtracting the number of weeks the child was born prematurely from the current age. For general information see premature birth.
Depending on how many weeks early a child is born or whether complications occur, the normal mother-child pass examinations are carried out or separate follow-up care is recommended, for example in specialized outpatient departments. Especially for very small premature babies who weighed less than 1,500 grams at birth or were born before the 33rd week of pregnancy, regular special development checks are necessary. In addition to specialists in paediatrics and adolescent medicine, professionals from the fields of psychology, physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy are also often employed. For information on these professions, see Health Professions.
Targeted development support
It is not possible to predict exactly how quickly a premature baby will develop. This is individual and depends on many factors. However, the children can be supported in their development through targeted support. Every child has their own “pace”.
There are specialized aftercare and development clinics for premature babies throughout Austria. Your specialist in paediatrics will arrange for a referral there if necessary.
For information on support groups, see Finding Support Groups.