[NOV. 24, 2000]   Preemies: The Essential Guide For Parents Of Premature Babies." Dana W. Linden, Emma T. Paroli, and Mia W. Doron, Pocket Books, 2000, 578 pages.

Each year in the United States approximately one out of 10 births occur before the completion of the full term. In their new book, "Preemies: The Essential Guide For Parents Of Premature Babies," authors Dana Linden, Emma Paroli and Mia Doron discuss the nature of premature birth and coping strategies for parents.


Premature birth of children occurs when the baby is born before the complete gestation of the full nine-month term. Why these kinds of births occur is still a mystery. The authors state, "Experts believe that most preterm births result not from a single cause, but from several risk factors interacting through pregnancy." These different risk factors are an important component of this book’s subject matter.


The book is divided into four broad categories: "Before Birth," "In The Hospital," "A Life Together" and "Other Considerations." The chapters in each category are comprised of current information relevant to a specific aspect of premature birth. They also contain a helpful question-and-answer section, a section on multiples (such as twins), the perspective of doctors and parents, and an in-depth discussion of a topic pertaining to that chapter.

In part one, "Before Birth," the authors explain why premature births happen and what can be done to prevent them. Their advice includes bed-rest survival tips, diagnosing preterm labor, the different drugs available and what to do when the condition induces an early delivery of the baby.

Part two, "In The Hospital," is an exhaustive discussion of the baby’s premature delivery into the world. This section goes to the heart of the book’s theme — the safe delivery of the premature baby and the health and well being of the mother. One of the most important chapters in this section is "Settling Down in the Hospital." It explains the procedures that take place in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the necessity of making the NICU a home away from home for the expectant mother. The authors also describe the care, treatments and tests that the preemie and the mother can expect after the completion of the birth.


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In "A Life Together" it is time to take the baby home and begin the child-raising process. Important information in this section involves the monitoring of the baby’s health and development, especially from the premature stage through the preschool years. Since there can be consequences related to premature birth, the authors’ reassuring chapter, "When Parents Have Something to Worry About," discusses the problems that may arise as the child grows older. These problems can affect hearing, vision, sensory integration or IQ. The questions-and-answers approach to these concerns should allay the fears of parents seeking information on these conditions.

The concluding section, "Other Considerations," looks at two opposite topics that should also be considered: the possibility of losing a baby and an uplifting chapter on famous personalities who were born preemies (most notably Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill).


"Preemies" is a welcome addition to the literature on the premature birth of babies. It should be considered a starting point for any parent who may encounter this possibility during the term of a pregnancy. The book’s layout is enhanced by the descriptive nature of the table of contents; in fact, the authors recommend that you not read the entire book: "We purposely wrote it in bite-sized pieces, with each question and answer or box addressing a separate topic, so that you can read about the specific issues that are relevant for you and your baby — and skip all of the rest." "Preemies" is recommended as an excellent source of information for parents who may be expecting the premature birth of their baby.

For more information, visit the Public Library at 725 Pekin St. or call 217-732-8878.

[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]


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