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 Published: 14/03/2013


The Child Development Unit (CDU), provides a follow up service for the highest risk infants managed by the Newborn Service at National Women's Health, including all very low birth weight (VLBW) babies under 1500g. Those with perinatal asphyxia and other infants who have sustained serious complications in the perinatal/neonatal period are referred by neonatologists in the Newborn Service.

The service has two main aims:

  • to detect any developmental problems early (and refer infants for intervention in the community).
  • to provide an audit of neonatal care (the CDU report is included in the National Women's Annual Report).


Families attend the CDU at National Women’s Health where Registered Psychologists assess the child’s cognitive and motor development at one, two and four years. Parents are interviewed and at the end of each session guidance is given regarding fostering the child’s development. Approximately 400 children are individually evaluated each year.

Click here to download the CDU parent information pamphlet



Feedback to medical and nursing staff, and others interested in the outcome of preterm children, is provided by annual reports and publications, together with grand rounds and lectures.

To date an important feature of the audit of VLBW infants has been the excellent retrieval rate at 2 years corrected age.  Despite the fact that a number of the newborns are drawn from Northland and other centres in New Zealand, follow up information has been obtained for over 90% of these high risk infants.

Jonathon (32 weeks, 1360g) at 4 years of age

Ikitogia (27 weeks, 1125g) at 4 years of age


Staff Members

  • Janice Taylor MA (Hons)
    Registered Psychologist
  • Sandra Smith MA (Hons
    Registered Psychologist
  • Denny Wood