Corrected Age for Premature Babies

Corrected Age for Premature Babies

Would you treat a 12-month-old child who was born 3 months earlier as a one-year-old or a nine-month-old? This answer can make a huge difference in your child’s growth.

What is the Corrected Age or Adjusted age?

Corrected age is an adjustment in age used by doctors if your child was born early to determine when he should reach specific milestones. The age a baby would be if he had been born on his due date is called an adjusted age. This age is very useful to determine the baby’s growth and overall development.

The baby’s age can be calculated in two different ways.

1. Chronological Age

Determining the baby’s age by counting the number of days, weeks, or years from the day he was born is called chronological age.

2. Adjusted Age

This is based on the baby’s due date. This is mostly used to evaluate the baby’s development.

Meanwhile, their chronological age is not considered because many babies may not have developed many functions such as breathing, maintaining body heat, etc.

Importance of Corrected Age

The developments of babies’ brains happen in two important ways. The first one is based on the preprogrammed biological sequence and the second one is the reaction to outside experiences.

Most of the time, the growth of the child cannot be hurried without the completion of development in the preprogrammed sequence. So when you are trying to understand if your premature baby is developing normally, knowing the baby’s corrected age will turn out to be helpful. For example, if your one-year-old prematurely born baby has not yet started to crawl, think of your baby’s age as nine months, which makes it absolutely normal. There is no need to worry. During the early years of his life, corrected age is required.

How to Calculate Adjusted Age in Premature Babies

It is very simple to calculate the corrected age of your baby. Start with the baby’s actual age in weeks from the day he was born and then subtract that value from the number of weeks the baby was preterm. This value is the adjusted age of the baby.

It could get tiresome explaining many people as to why your baby is so small. You don’t have to worry because you will need to explain this only till the kid reaches 2 to 2 ½ years. By this age, they will catch up developmentally.

Calculating adjusted age for preemies

When is Adjusted Age Not Useful?

Using the corrected age for early intervention services is not a good idea for your child. The child’s need for services is greater as his uncorrected age would make him seem older.

However, when celebrating your child’s birthday, you should calculate the birthday from the day he/she was born.

Can the Corrected Age Affect a Premature Baby’s Development?

In just two or three years, most prematurely born babies accomplish the same developmental milestones. If any other differences are seen after that, then it is most likely to be due to individual differences and not because of the premature birth. There are a few cases where the babies take a longer time to catch up developmentally.

Whom to Tell About the Child’s Corrected Age

In the early years, the child’s corrected age will explain a lot of characteristics that look like delays in the growth and development of the baby. It is important to know how early your child was born. It is best to let anyone who cares for or works with your child know your preemie’s adjusted age. This may include the child’s care teacher, preschool teachers, and health professionals.

Inform concerned people about the preemie's age

Is It Okay to Stop Using the Corrected Age?

There has never been a rule on when to stop using the corrected age, but most doctors recommend using this age until the child has reached two years. At this age, your child will start developing like everybody else. After two years, if your child is still behind, then the doctors would start focusing on the expected rate of growth of the child.

How to Answer Child’s Questions Related to Your Child’s Development

At times you might find it hard to explain the corrected age of your child to the people around you, but this can turn out to be very helpful. For example, if someone notices your six-month child is not able to sit up, then you can tell them that he was born three months earlier. So in that perspective, he is only three months old, and he is doing everything a 3-month-old child normally does. This way, your preemie’s adjusted age milestones are on track.

How Does Adjusted Age Affect Child’s Play and Interaction?

You may notice that your prematurely born child does less when compared to the other kids of the same chronological age. But when thought of in terms of the child’s adjusted age, he is doing what a child his age usually does. Your child can learn a lot from experiencing the things around him; for example, being read to, walking to the park, and interacting with other kids. All these different environments help to develop the child’s brain.

Starting Preschool for Premature Babies With Corrected Age

There is a chance your child might start schooling according to his chronological age and not his adjusted age.

But especially at preschool, a few months can make a huge difference to what your child can do and what she is expected to do. There are some parents who decide to delay a year if their chronological age is below the entry age. This can be useful for your child to catch up on his development, giving them extra time to cultivate and improve their social skills needed for preschool and school.

You can also ask for test results conducted between your child’s corrected age and chronological ages if your child is assessed with delays in overall development and growth.

Preschool for preemies with corrected age

Immunizations for Corrected Age Infants

Babies who are prematurely born usually get the same immunization as other babies of the same chronological age. Immunizations are very important for premature babies because they need immunity as they are more susceptible to specific infections.

Prematurely born babies usually get their first immunizations when they’re still at the hospital. Extra doses of vaccines might be given when the child gets older.

Your paediatrician is the best person to seek advice from, and she will know what you’re child needs.

Your family or friends may initially find it difficult to understand the difference between chronological and corrected age, and even actual age. You can help them understand the importance and why it is calculated. Be sure to stay attentive and interactive with your child. Allow them to play and interact with other kids which will help them move towards normal development.

Also Read: Premature Baby Health Problems