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Preterm Labour: Early Indicators, Expectations & Resources for Parents

If you are anticipating having a preterm infant, are receiving care as part of a high-risk pregnancy program, or want to know more about what having a baby in the NICU might be like, here are some resources for you.

  • Many parents are, very reasonably, worried about what giving birth to a preterm baby will be like. A UK-based website,, has some great information about what parents can expect.

  • One of the first gifts you can give to your baby is colostrum. Many units are now encouraging mothers to hand-express colostrum as soon as possible after birth, in order to give babies that immune-boosting ‘liquid gold” as soon as possible. If you are part of a high-risk program, ask them about early hand expressionLearn more about the technique from a leading clinician in this field, Dr. Rebecca Hoban. 

  • Many NICUs will offer introductory materials to parents, and some will facilitate a tour for high risk parents-to-be. They may also have photos or virtual tours on their websites. If possible, take the time to familiarize yourself with the environment before giving birth. You can view "Welcome to the NICU video Part 3"  for more here.

  • If you want to learn more about the people you’ll meet in the NICU, and about some of the new words you’ll hear, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre offers a Who’s Who in the NICU and a Glossary on their website.

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