The Perinatal Follow-Up Program is known in other centres as the neonatal follow-up program or high-risk developmental follow-up clinic. It is dedicated to the care and monitoring of babies who were very premature, very low birth weight or who experienced known or suspected brain injury at birth. It includes the evaluation of long-term developmental outcomes for these children.
Theo - born at 30 weeks gestation, 1550 grams (3 pounds, 6 ounces).
The Program is based at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and enrolls infants who were cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit, and were born:
Members of the Perinatal Follow-Up team also travel to visit families who live outside of Halifax (see How We Help-Travel Clinics).
Program participation is voluntary. Follow-Up is not designed to take the place of an infant's primary care provider (i.e. family doctor or pediatrician).
The Program has a multidisciplinary team that provides assessments to ensure early identification of problems and referrals to necessary services in a timely manner. With premature infants, assessments are done at the "corrected age" or the time since the baby was due to be born.
It is important for follow-up to continue for the first few years of life to assist families by providing them with information and support in order for their children to meet their potential. It is equally important to understand the consequences of the early birth experiences in order to help improve the care of pregnant mothers, and the nursery care of babies.
In short, the program provides the following services for premature infants and their families: