Dr. Melnyk shares if developmental delays will occur in all babies born prematurely.
A lot of parents have the question of whether their babies, their premature baby is going to be developmentally challenged, have problems in that way. I can tell you that while there are premature babies that have developed mental challenges, as they grow, they might not do as well academically as children who were not born prematurely, but the earlier that those developmental delays are picked up, there are many interventions for those delays that can help children.
So again you see the key to all of this is early identification and getting your child, or yourself, to somebody who can help you. So many times people let it go way too long and then it’s already gone down the path that’s hard to refer. So the key is again, recognizing it early; getting the help that you need.
But I do want to emphasize although these preemies are born earl, most of these babies catch up. They just take a little bit more time to get there. An easy way to remember how fast your baby should be progressing is, if your baby is born by six weeks prematurely, so a full term baby is 40 weeks, if your preemie was born at 34 weeks, you just expect him to achieve the developmental milestones that normal babies would six weeks later.
So, we call that, you know, looking at corrected age versus chronological age, but if you know it’s just going to be six weeks later until my baby is rolling over or sitting up, you don’t have to get overly concerned if they are not doing it at the same age your other child did it. Just now they are going catch up, it’s just gonna take him a little bit longer to do so.
About Dr. Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N.:
Dr. Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., is Dean and Distinguished Foundation Professor in Nursing at the Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation. She is noted for her dedication to improving the health of children and teens, educational and research innovation, interdisciplinary healthcare, and evidence-based practice to deliver quality patient outcomes.
Dr. Melnyk earned a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree from the West Virginia University School of Nursing, a Master’s of Science in nursing with a specialization in nursing care of children as a pediatric nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in clinical nursing research from the University of Rochester (New York). She also has completed her post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.