Preemie Development - a quick look

quick look preemiehelp

Keeping an eye on your preemies development can help you determine when a little help might be necessary.


Preemies aren't just small...

Sometimes preterm children can develop at different rates to a child born full term. In this way it is important to know the key developmental milestones and timeline so that you are able to give your preemie any help if required.

Select from the menu items for related information...

Developmental Coordination Disorder

Motor skills involve the movement of muscles that allow smooth and efficient actions. Mild motor problems are common in premature children but there are a number of things you can do to help optimise development in this area.

Preterm Children: Minor Motor Impairment

Difficulties with motor skills, without a diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) are common in preterm children. Motor difficulties reported within the preterm literature are sometimes referred to as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) or Minor Motor Impairment (MMI).


How motor impairments are defined varies, so the rates of minor motor problems in preterm children has ranged from approximately 10% to up to 50% of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) children.

The rate of minor motor impairments in children born at term is between 5% and 9%.

Why do preterm children have minor motor problems?

Why preterm children are more vulnerable to motor problems is not precisely known but it thought that a number of risk factors might increase the likelihood of such difficulties. The degree to which perinatal risk factors, such as gestational age, birth weight, respiratory problems, and brain pathology affect motor skills is not yet well understood.


Technical Reference List

Bracewell, M., & Marlow, N. (2002). Patterns of motor disability in very preterm children. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev, 8(4), 241-248.
Davis, N. M., Ford, G. W., Anderson, P. J., & Doyle, L. W. (2007). Developmental coordination disorder at 8 years of age in a regional cohort of extremely-low-birthweight or very preterm infants. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(5), 325-330.
Holsti, L., Grunau, R. E., & Whitfield, M. F. (2002). Developmental coordination disorder in extremely low birth weight children at nine years. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 23(1), 9-15.
Jongmans, M. J., Mercuri, E., Dubowitz, L. M. S., & Henderson, S. E. (1998). Perceptual-motor difficulties and their concomitants in six-year-old children born prematurely. Human Movement Science, 17(4-5), 629-653.

Want more information

More information about preterm birth can be found in For Parents section

Need help?

Try Preemie Help ebooks



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

Help us help you!

help us help you! is here to provide preemie information, community and solutions to the people that need it most... you!
Preemie Help is also looking to provide a resource for any professionals that have contact with preterm babies and children in order to help them best understand the challenges that face a preemie. Get in contact to help us impact preemies.

Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



New Release - Preemie Development

All in one easy to read eguide

‘The complete preemie guide to: ‘Preemie development’ is the must have guide to the NICU for new preemie parents.

With an easy-to-read layout this comprehensive guide is over 130 pages of important information about the NICU and your preemie.

Using Adobe’s .pdf format makes the guide usable across a wide range of platforms from ipad to PC, smartphone to macbook.

Packed with extra features like progress charts, NICU checklists and plenty of others. ‘The preemie guide’ is a must for any new parents.