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Developmental Care of Preterm Infants and the Childbearing Family

  • By: Gretchen Lawhon
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

The care of premature infants within childbearing families has become a significant challenge with the global increase in prematurity rates to 12% of all births, or 16 million premature infants born each year. There is variation around the world, including an 18% rate of prematurity in the African American population of the United States. These premature infants are less well developed to handle the environment outside of their mother's womb. Increasingly these early born and low birth weight infants survive their intensive care nursery experience. However, there remains a strong likelihood of their having some type of a neurosensory impairment, which will have lifelong effects on their learning ability and social emotional health. Nearly half of all children born prematurely show later learning disabilities, attention ...

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