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The Preemie Primer

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Updated August 11, 2010

The Preemie Primer by Dr. Jennifer Gunter

The Preemie Primer by Dr. Jennifer Gunter

Image courtesy of Da Capo Press

The Bottom Line

The Preemie Primer is great book to help parents of very early or very sick preemies understand their baby's health care. Clear, easy to read, and well organized, this book is a nice introduction to prematurity.
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  • Makes complicated medical information about preemies easy to read and understand.
  • Helps parents understand prematurity from conception through school age.
  • Insider's view of NICU care from a mom and obstetrician.


  • Not geared for preemies born at more than about 31 weeks.


  • Excellent source of medical information for parents of micropreemies and very premature babies.
  • Well organized and easy to read. Good at breaking complex medical information down for parents.
  • Glossary, growth charts, and index make it easy to find what you're looking for.

Guide Review - The Preemie Primer

The world of NICU care for premature babies is constantly changing as doctors and researchers learn more about how to care for this very special population. Dr. Jennfer Gunter's new book, The Preemie Primer is a fresh and welcome addition to the shelves of local bookstores.

In addition to containing the latest information about prematurity, The Preemie Primer is unique because the author is unique. The book is written from Dr. Gunter's perspective as both an obstetrician and the parent of preemies Oliver and Victor, born at 26 weeks, and a third son whom Dr. Gunter lost at 22 weeks. This combination of medical knowledge and a parent's intuition make The Preemie Primer a special book.

What The Preemie Primer does best is to explain the complicated world of NICU care for premature babies in words that parents can understand. Preemies face a wide variety of complex health conditions, both in the NICU and beyond. Dr. Gunter explains the different medical conditions clearly enough that parents with no medical knowledge can follow along easily. The book also helps parents navigate their health insurance and government programs that help to pay for the cost of NICU care and to understand what causes early birth and how to prevent it with later pregnancies.

Unlike a lot of books on prematurity, The Preemie Primer doesn't end at NICU discharge. Dr. Gunter does a wonderful job of helping parents cope with the difficult transition from NICU to home, and to understand the challenges that children born early may face as they grow from babies to toddlers, then enter the school system.

Because The Preemie Primer is geared toward very premature babies and micropreemies with long NICU stays, parents of babies only a month or two early won't find as much of the information to be useful. There is still a lot of good information for parents of babies born closer to term though, especially for sicker babies.

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