What Is a Doctor for Premature Babies Called?


Quick Answer

A doctor that treats premature babies is called a neonatologist, as reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Neonatologists specialize in the complex care of premature newborn babies, and in some cases may also assist with the pregnancy before birth and during labor.

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Full Answer

Neonatologists receive extensive training in the care of premature babies. They complete 4 years of medical school, 3 years of general pediatrics residency, 3 years of training in newborn intensive care and are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the Sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Neonatologists typically practice at university medical centers, community hospitals and children's hospitals.

If an unborn child has a known disorder or complication, neonatologists begin coordinating with the obstetrician to develop a care plan. In some cases, a neonatologist will be present at the birth to provide treatment in a high-risk situation for both the mother and baby, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some types of care that neonatologists provide includes stabilizing life-threatening situations and emergencies, treating breathing disorders and birth defects or injuries, providing proper nutrition and general care management. Once the newborn is stabilized and healthy enough to go home, neonatologists might provide follow-up care in conjunction with the pediatrician for a short period of time.

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