House Bill 716 was passed in the 2009 session of the Missouri legislature and enacted as RSMo 191.711.1.  The legislation requires the Department of Health and Senior Services must prepare written educational publications with information about possible complications, proper care and support associated with premature infants; distribute the materials to children’s health and maternal care providers, hospitals, public health departments, and medical organizations; and encourage those organizations to provide the publications to parents or guardians of premature infants.

Having a premature infant can be surprising and scary for parents and they can feel that they are on a rollercoaster of uncertainty. Nearly 13% of the four million babies born in the United States are born prematurely (less than 37 weeks) with two-thirds of them being born late pre-term (between 34 and 36 completed weeks of pregnancy).

Due to recent advances in healthcare, more than 90% of premature babies weighing more than two pounds will survive. Many of them are at greater risk for ongoing health complications than full-term babies.  This is a path that extends far from the delivery room and is a path that may be full of challenges, emotions, and important decisions relating to baby’s healthcare. This guide is provided to help parents understand some issues they may experience and offer tools and resources to help them navigate the journey.

The materials provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) are available in pdf format below. Brochures related to prematurity issues and other issues new parents may face are available from the DHSS warehouse at

#82 Baby Blues and You
#674 Safe Sleep for Your Baby
#155 Car Seat Safety for Premature Infants

Taking Baby Steps – Knowing what to do