SCIENCES

Early: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human

Harper. Jan. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780062820303. $28.99. MED
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In the United States today, only 1.6 percent of babies are born before 32 weeks and fewer than one percent are born weighing less than two pounds. DiGregorio, a journalist, had been alerted by her obstetrician that her baby might be born prematurely. To prepare, DiGregorio learned all she could about premature births before Mira’s birth, and continued to research the subject afterwards. The author explores the plight of premature babies in earlier years (Mira, now a lively and relatively healthy child, was born by emergency C-section almost 12 weeks early and weighing only one and a half pounds; she likely would not have survived), discusses medical advances in prenatal as well as neonatal care, and considers bioethical issues regarding extremely high-risk babies. DiGregorio also points out the importance of knowing hospital’s policies regarding end-of-life care.
VERDICT A well-written, carefully researched book that should be of vital interest to potential parents and their friends and families.

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