Thrive Program

Thrive Program

After a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay, care continues at our Thrive Program. For over 40 years, we’ve been helping your little miracle grow and thrive.

Once your baby comes home from the hospital, the Thrive Program at Children’s Health℠ provides specialized, comprehensive, ongoing follow-up care. Our interdisciplinary team of experts looks after your baby’s overall health and well-being until their fifth birthday.

Caring for our region’s most fragile patients for more than four decades, we have more experience than any other program in Texas. Thrive provides follow-up care for more than 300 new NICU graduates from various hospitals every year and has over 1,100 ongoing patients. We provide our patients and their families with comprehensive care, and one-on-one care and support for you and your baby.


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Before 1973, infants weighing less than 1,000 grams – a little more than 2 pounds – rarely survived. In 1979, with neonatal death rates dropping and more "very low birth weight" babies surviving, the Low Birth Weight Clinic at Children's Medical Center was established.

The Low Birth Weight Clinic, now known as the Thrive Program, celebrates 40 years of providing for some of our most fragile patients. During that time, the program has cared for more 6,300 patients, and provided over 90,000 primary care visits, along with many associated interdisciplinary services.

Forty years later and the Thrive Program continues to be the only clinic in North Texas to providing specialized comprehensive primary care specifically to low birth weight and other high-risk NICU graduates through age five.

How can the Thrive Program help my child?

We are one of the leading neonatal follow-up programs in the country. Here, experts from UT Southwestern and Children’s Health provide evidence-based care that has been shown to help babies thrive and decrease their risk of complications. Our compassionate and experienced clinical care team empowers families and nurtures babies with these key services.

  • Optimizing growth and nutrition: To address slow growth or rapid growth, our clinical nutrition experts deliver personalized recommendations to make sure your baby is getting the proper nourishment.
  • Protecting vision: Premature babies are at risk for eye problems; we ensure that a follow-up with pediatric ophthalmologists takes place.
  • Detecting and treating hearing problems: Your baby may have a higher risk for hearing loss, which can also impact his or her language skills. We arrange for audiological testing when necessary and specialty treatment as indicated.
  • Anticipating and addressing developmental delays: Your baby may need help achieving developmental milestones, such as walking and playing with toys. Developmental specialists help assess your child’s neurological development and recommend activities to try at home and make referrals for speech, physical and occupational therapies.
  • Caring for chronic and acute medical conditions: Although we provide most of this care in Thrive, we also refer to pediatric subspecialists when needed.
  • Monitoring overall health with well-child care: We serve as your baby’s primary care provider managing routine exams and immunizations under the direction of an experienced pediatrician.
  • Addressing emotional/behavioral concerns: Our developmental specialists and child psychologist help families with proven coping strategies and counseling services.
  • Providing ongoing family support: Our dedicated social worker helps connect families with essential resources and community agencies throughout this journey.

How do I start the enrollment process for my child?

  • Before your baby is discharged from the NICU, a case manager will arrange your first appointment. The Thrive Program staff will help you schedule additional clinic visits.
    • Learn more about what to expect from your first visit through your child's 5th birthday.
  • After each of your child’s visits, you will receive feedback about your child’s medical, nutritional and developmental progress, along with suggestions for what you can do to help your child. We will refer to sub-specialists or therapists as needed.
  • Follow-up visits will depend on your child’s specific needs.  

Nothing is more important to us than your child’s health and well-being. Please call 214-456-6500 for more information or to make an appointment.


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