Preterm Delivery and the Low-Risk Pregnant Woman: What to Know

Dr. Wolfberg specializes in prenatal diagnosis and prevention of preterm delivery.

Dr. Wolfberg specializes in prenatal diagnosis and prevention of preterm delivery.

My daughter, Larissa, was born nearly three months before her due date, which is, fortunately, not the type of birthday most children have. But preterm delivery – births prior to 37 weeks of gestation – is a relatively common phenomenon, affecting nearly 12 percent of births in the United States each year. Children born many weeks early are at high risk for significant complications – lung disease and brain injury are two of the most severe consequences – but even children born a few weeks early are at risk for adverse consequences, including learning difficulties that may not be identified until they are in school.

Preterm birth is a rare enough event that I would hate for all women to go through pregnancy terrified that they will deliver early – pregnancy is tough enough without added anxiety.

However, it is worth making a short mental note and filing it away so that if you should experience the following symptoms, you remember to call your obstetrician or midwife right away:

  • uterine contractions,
  • a different or abnormal discharge,
  • new pelvic pressure, or
  • an unusual backache.

On Wednesday, November 7, I hosted a free webinar for Isis Parenting specifically for parents who are worried about preterm delivery or have a baby who was born early. You can view the webinar recording here.

I was joined by pediatric neurologist, Jason Carmel, and pediatric neuropsychologist, Kelly Lowery (who, incidentally, is my wife). I wrote about Larissa’s birth and about Jason and his research in my book, Fragile Beginnings.

Once you find yourself in the unexpected position of being the proud parent of a child born prematurely, you will suddenly become a consumer of information about prematurity and its consequences.

In a sense, there is no one-size-fits-all guide to premature delivery, because most children will not have complications of their prematurity, and if a child has chronic lung disease, his parents are not going to be interested in information about rentinopathy of prematurity.

Dr. Carmel is an expert in recovery and rehabilitation for children with brain injury, including the most common type of brain injury in prematurity, intraventricular hemorrhage. He is going to discuss some of his research and the clinical program he runs for these children.

Dr. Lowery is an expert in learning disabilities, and works with children (most of whom were not born prematurely) who have specific deficits that make traditional education challenging. She will review warning signs for learning disabilities, and explain how parents, teachers, and schools can help kids with these subtle deficits succeed.

It will be a challenge to communicate all of the information we have to you during the webinar, so we wanted to at least provide contact information and some additional resources here:

Contact information:


View ” As Preemies Grow: From Preterm Birth to Preschool & Beyond” -recording of the free webinar mentioned above.

This entry was posted in Developmental Milestones, In The News, Labor and Childbirth, learning disabilities, Postpartum Issues and Concerns, premature baby, preterm birth, preterm delivery, Your Growing Child, Your Healthy Pregnancy. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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