If your baby was born prematurely, her development and needs may be different. Here you will find information specifically for babies born preterm.
Prematurity, or preterm birth, is defined by the World Health Organization as any baby born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy. An estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely every year across the world. If your child was born prematurely, your doctor may advise you to “adjust” your baby’s age – also known as “corrected age” – regarding developmental growth until your child is two years old. By two years old, most premature children have caught up developmentally. You can calculate your baby’s “corrected age” by subtracting the number of weeks early your baby was born from the chronological age based on your baby’s birthday. For example, if your baby is 20 weeks old and was born 5 weeks early, then your baby’s “corrected age” would be equivalent of 15 weeks old.
Use your baby’s corrected age to best determine his development and what to expect from the next stages of skills. Visit and consult with your baby’s pediatrician regularly to monitor development. Check out the “How to Understand Developmental Milestones When Your Child has a Delay” page for more information.
QUICK TIP: Premature babies often catch up developmentally by age two, but sometimes other disabilities may arise and continue past age two. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician regularly. It's important to closely monitor your child's progress, keep up with your child's routine health appointments, and find out about early intervention services, as necessary.