When Will My Premature Baby Catch Up On Development?

By Nikitha Patel|2 - 3 mins read| July 10, 2024

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Anukriti Singh

Having a premature baby brings in so many questions for the mothers, especially ‘when will my premature baby catch up on development?’ But did you know premature babies are not as uncommon as you may think? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one out of ten babies has a premature birth. Of those, most of them catch up over time.

Read below to understand premature development in depth. Also, find out when you can expect your premature baby to catch up on development.

Introduction: Premature Development

Premature babies, also called preemies, are typically born before 37 weeks of gestation. Since the preemies miss their development time in the womb, they need some extra time to catch up on their development. Here are some of the important phases and what they look like.

  • Corrected age: Tracking premature baby development is generally done through their corrected age rather than their original age, or what is called a chronological age.
  • Variations: Similar to full-term babies, preemies too develop at their own pace depending on factors such as health complications and the degree of prematurity, among others.
  • Adjusting milestones: The reality is that your premature baby will reach its milestones a little later than a normal birth. Therefore, such milestone adjustments are considered normal when it comes to keeping a developmental track.

So, When Will My Premature Baby Really Catch Up?

The big question that arises in every parent’s mind is: when will my baby catch up on its development? Here’s what you can consider considering different factors:.

0-2 Years: Most preemies start to catch up within the first two years. In fact, you can notice that by the end of two years, most premature babies will be close to bridging the developmental gap.

2-5 Years: In this phase, the premature babies continue to make leaps in catching up with other aspects, such as motor and social skills. By the time they reach preschool age, they will probably be on par with full-term babies.

5 years and beyond: Usually, at the time of starting school, most preemies show no significant difference from full-term babies. However, in certain circumstances, the premature kids might have some health complications.


Overall, several aspects play a crucial role in determining how much time it will take for your baby to be on par with full-term babies. Some factors include the extent of prematurity, health complications, and therapies and support. Thus, it becomes important to understand such influential factors that may affect your preemies’ development and give them the support they need to catch up on their development.

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About The Author:

Nikitha Patel

Medically reviewed by:

Dr. Anukriti Singh

Last Updated: Wed Jul 10 2024

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