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What to Do When Your Baby is Premature
by Joseph A. Garcia-Prats, M.D. and
Sharon Simmons Hornfischer, R.N., B.S.N.

Have you been told you are a candidate for a high-risk pregnancy? Are you currently pregnant and dealing with pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm labor or gestational diabetes? Are you now the parent of a preemie in the NICU? Do you know someone who is? If so, What to Do When Your Baby is Premature may prove to be an invaluable resource for you. I wish I'd had this book when I was pregnant and on bedrest, and then later when visiting my premature daughter in the NICU. This book is packed with information dealing with high-risk pregnancies and babies born prematurely.

To quote the front cover, this book contains information on:

  • the most common medical conditions that can cause prematurity, including pregnancy-induced hypertension, placental disorders, gestational diabetes, HELLP syndrome, Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and more
  • steps to take to prevent early delivery
  • the latest options for treatment
  • understanding the neonatal intensive care unit
  • specific recommendations for different stages of prematurity
  • taking preemie babies home

One of the authors, Sharon Simmons Hornfischer, has firsthand experience with having a high-risk pregnancy and delivering a premature baby. Her first son was born at 32 weeks, and throughout the book are personal notes and anecdotes from Ms. Hornfischer, which add a nice personal touch to the book.

The book has 14 chapters, covering such topics as "The Causes of High-Risk Pregnancy", "Managing High-Risk Pregnancy", "Labor and Delivery", "The First Twenty-Four Hours after Delivery", "Your Preemie's Growth and Maturation", "The Rhythms of the NICU", "Special Concerns in the NICU", and "Bringing Your Preemie Home". Each chapter goes into great depth and is full of technical information. This is the book to have on hand if you want details and full explanations of conditions and procedures. Sprinkled throughout the book are blue boxes with "FAQ's" - Frequently Asked Questions. Some of the FAQ's addressed include:

  • Will I be able to go home if my contractions stabilize?
  • When will my blood pressure go back to normal?
  • If I take medications, will I still be able to breastfeed?
  • Where will my baby be taken immediately after delivery?
  • Can I read my baby's chart?

There are also many good tips highlighted throughout the book, including tips on surviving bedrest (page 86), dealing with insurance (page 145), getting oriented in the NICU (page 182), and dealing with well-meaning friends and family (page 199). This is an extremely comprehensive book! I agree 100% with this tip, found on page 192:

"Remember, this is your baby. Get involved. Ask questions. Take the initiative to be an active participant in your preemie's NICU life. The more involved you get, the stronger the bond you will feel toward your child, and the more attached he or she will become to you."

The book ends with a seven page glossary of terms that serves as a handy reference, as well as three appendices: Developmental Milestones, Conversion Charts, and Helpful Resources. As a former parent to a child in the NICU, I know firsthand that all of these resources would have been very valuable to me while my daughter was still quite small.

What to Do When Your Baby is Premature is a well-written, information-packed, easy-to-read book that should be required reading for all parents dealing with high-risk pregnancies or premature babies. I am happy to have a copy of it and only wish that I would have had this back when I was in my high-risk pregnancy, worrying about my unborn child. Information is power, and this book will certainly arm you with the knowledge you need to help carry your unborn child for as long as possible and make the best of the NICU experience.

Book review by Jennifer Thompson

To Purchase:
   • What to Do When Your baby is Premature at Amazon.com
   • What to Do When Your baby is Premature at Amazon UK
   • What to Do When Your baby is Premature at Amazon Canada

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