Posts Tagged ‘NICU’
This is Prematurity Awareness weekend and we’ll be involved in chats on both Saturday and Sunday. Join us on Saturday as part of the day-long World Prematurity Network relay. We will be talking about parenting in the NICU at 1 PM ET. Make sure you use #worldprematurityday to fully engage.
On Sunday, which is actually World Prematurity Day, we will be discussing and sharing birth stories. Please come share your unique story with us throughout the afternoon. We can learn a lot from each other. Use #birthstories to be included in the thread.
We look forward to seeing you with us.
One in every nine babies in the U.S. is born prematurely and most spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Life isn’t easy for them or their parents.
Join our chat about what it’s like once you bring your baby home from the NICU, the challenges, the fears, the daily miracles, the joy. Our guest will be Amanda Farr Knickerbocker, @Micropreemie, mom to a micropreemie & creator of the amazing site understandingprematurity.com.
Please join us on Thursday Nov. 14th at 1 PM ET. Share your story, ask questions. Be sure to use #nicuchat to fully participate.
We have pulled together a calendar of Twitter chats @MODHealthTalk for Prematurity Awareness Month. Mark them on your calendar and then come join us.
11/1 – Infant and baby loss, 9 PM ET. #losschat
11/7 – Bed rest with Keep ‘Em Cookin, 1 PM ET. #pregnancychat
11/14 – Going home after the NICU, 1 PM ET. #NICUchat
11/16 – Parenting in the NICU, 1 PM ET. #worldprematurityday (Part of the World Prematurity Network relay)
11/17 – Birth stories. World Prematurity Day, anytime all day. #birthstories.
11/20 – Early intervention: how to get help for your child. 1 PM ET. #preemiechat
Working with our partners, the March of Dimes strives to develop and implement local programs that will ultimately improve the health of babies. Through our network of chapters and volunteers, these programs reach over a million people across the country and Puerto Rico each year. We provide information and services designed to prevent premature birth and birth defects and to promote healthy pregnancies.
Community grants are awarded annually to fund the best programs. Local programs like Centering Pregnancy®, group prenatal care, are focused on improving the availability and quality of health care. We also support services that help promote the health and well-being of women and couples before pregnancy to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. Other programs educate doctors and nurses about reducing the rates of elective labor inductions and c-sections before the 39th week of pregnancy.
Through NICU Family Support®, we provide information and comfort to families coping with the experience of having a baby in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). NICU Family Support complements and enhances family-centered care practices in partner hospitals, addresses the needs of families and provides professional development to NICU staff.
And the staff in our Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center answers your health related questions that come in on our News Moms Need blog, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Share Your Story community and direct emails sent to Askus@marchofdimes.com. We’re here to help.
Your beautiful baby has arrived. But he or she was born prematurely or is sick, and needs special care. Your joy over your baby’s birth may be mixed with worry and heartache. This is not how you expected fatherhood to begin.
The birth of a premature or sick baby is stressful and difficult for all family members. But it can be especially rough on you. You may worry about your baby and your partner, as well as other children at home, demands from your job and financial concerns. While each father develops his own way of coping with the birth of a premature or sick infant, this information may help make this difficult time a bit easier.
You may feel many conflicting emotions after your baby is born. These emotions, from anxiety and fear to anger and resentment, love and pride, helplessness and hope, can be very intense. All of the feelings are normal and most men experience some of them. As your baby gets stronger, your negative feelings may lessen. Expect this to be an emotional roller coaster ride for a while.
Keep in mind that the birth of a sick child can put stress on the relationship between you and your partner, as well as your relationships with other family members. It’s important to share your feelings with your partner through your baby’s illness, so that you can support each other and come through this experience a stronger team.
Read more about keeping your relationship strong, ways to help your partner and your baby, how to let others help you and how to take care of yourself in our article for dads. Being a NICU dad can be difficult, especially if your baby is very sick. You should take pride in all the things you do to help your baby and your partner, and realize that you are making a difference.
Have you ever wondered what a Level I, II, or III hospital is? How will you know which is right for you when the time comes to deliver? Dr. Siobhan Dolan explains how hospital nurseries are classified in the new March of Dimes book Healthy Mom Healthy Baby.
“Every hospital with a maternity department must have a nursery, a unit devoted to newborn care. Some provide more extensive care than others. Hospital nurseries are classified by the kind of care they offer:
Level I – Well-newborn nurseries that provide a basic level of medical care to low-risk and healthy newborns.
Level II – Special-care nurseries that can care for infants who are moderately ill or born a few weeks early with health problems that are expected to improve rapidly.
Level III – Neonatal Intensive care units (NICUs) with highly trained providers and advanced equipment to provide complex care, surgery, and life support for infants who are critically ill, very small, or very premature.
“If you are having a healthy low-risk pregnancy, it is not necessary to make special arrangements to give birth in a hospital with a level II or III nursery. However, if you are having pregnancy complications, or your baby has a known or suspected health problem, talk with your provider about whether choosing a hospital with a higher level of newborn care is a good idea.”
You can read more about Dr. Dolan’s book, and even order a copy, at this link.
If your baby is in the NICU, kangaroo care can seem like a life saver. Kangaroo care is a way to hold your baby so that there is as much skin contact between you and your baby as possible. It has wonderful benefits for both you and your baby.
For kangaroo care, your baby is placed upright on your bare chest.
• Ask the nurse for a warm blanket to cover you and your baby.
• Strong smells like perfume or cigarette smoke on you or your clothing can bother your baby, so be sure to wash before holding.
• Hold your baby for at least an hour in this position. Be sure to go to the bathroom and put your phone away before getting comfortable. Your baby needs your full attention.
Gentle, still touch is very important, especially for the most sick and fragile of babies. It might make you feel good to stroke your baby, but it doesn’t feel good to your baby in the NICU. Stroking can make a baby feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Touching without moving your hands is best.
Kangaroo care is good for your baby because it can:
• Keep your baby warm
• Stabilize your baby’s heart rate
• Help your baby gain weight
• Comfort your baby
It’s good for Mom and Dad too because:
• It can help you bond with your baby.
• It can stimulate a mother’s ability to make breast milk.
• It can reduce your stress and lift your spirits.
• It may help you become more confident parents.
Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines. Whatever your situation, kangaroo care is a precious way to be close to your baby. You will cherish this time. You can learn more about kangaroo care by looking at our Power Point presentation at this link.
The March of Dimes gratefully acknowledges Philips’ support of our NICU Family Support® and Close to MeSM programs
When a baby born early is in the NICU, it’s usually because he needs to be closely monitored in a safe, protected environment so he can continue to develop like he would if he were still inside Mom. This high level of care can’t happen in the cute nursery you have set up at home. That has to wait until later.
Since premature babies cannot regulate their body temperature well, they often are placed in a radiant warmer for a couple of days. This odd-looking open bed may not look like it will do much, but a special sensor taped to the baby’s skin keeps track of his body temperature and adjusts the heat around him as needed. The openness of the bed allows easy access for medical attention during constant monitoring.
Once stabilized, babies usually are transferred to an isolette. This plexiglass box is an incubator that protects the baby from temperature fluctuations in the room. It has portholes on the sides for medical staff to reach through in order to provide different treatments, diaper changes, etc. One wall of the isolette can be unhinged to provide complete access to the baby. As in the radiant warmer, the temperature within the isolette is regulated in accordance with the baby’s temperature needs. Some isolettes also provide moist, humidified air to prevent the baby’s environment from becoming too dry.
Many parents of a baby in the NICU want to decorate their baby’s isolette, make it personal. In time, that will be a great idea, but in the beginning babies often can’t handle any extra stimulation. Very tiny babies may not even be able to handle being touched for the first week or so. It’s hard for parents to see their baby in such a sterile environment. Items such as a special isolette cover, a stuffed animal or family photo can provide a touch of home. By talking with the NICU staff caring for their baby, parents will learn when and how much of a personal touch will be best for their little one.
If you had a baby in the NICU, how long was it before you were able to personalize your baby’s bed?
Chris and Vince Centofanti thought they knew all about preterm birth. She was a neonatal nurse-practitioner caring for critically ill babies, and he worked for GE Healthcare’s Maternal-Infant Care division, providing specialized medical equipment to hospitals. But then their own baby, Nina, was born nine weeks early, weighing less than three pounds. She suffered from respiratory distress and spent her first five weeks fighting for life in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU).
“I can’t tell you how difficult it was, seeing our own little girl lying in the NICU, fighting for life. All our hopes and dreams for her hung in the balance,” says Chris Centofanti. “As a nurse-practitioner I’ve seen many other parents in this situation, and now I know exactly how they feel.” “I never expected that my own daughter would have to be cared for in a NICU with the equipment I had provided to the hospital,” says Vince Centofanti.
While pregnant with Nina, Chris felt unwell at 31 weeks and went to the hospital. She was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, a form of high blood pressure with elevated liver enzymes and a low blood platelet count. It is a rare, but potentially life-threatening illness that typically occurs late in pregnancy. The only treatment is to deliver the baby as soon as possible. For the next 48 hours, Chris was treated with steroids to help develop baby Nina’s lungs before birth. At birth, Nina was immediately transferred to the NICU, where she spent the next five weeks.
In addition to Nina, the Centofantis have an older son Nick, and a second daughter, Mia, who was born at 35 weeks of pregnancy, thanks in part to weekly progesterone treatments which reduced the risk of Chris going into premature labor. “Even though things didn’t go as planned, we’ve been blessed with three healthy children, thanks in large part to the work of the March of Dimes. Just a few years ago, the outcome might be been very different,” says Chris. She adds, “Thanks to the care that Nina received, and the support of the March of Dimes for research and treatment, now we also know the relief and joy parents feel when their child survives and becomes healthy enough to leave the NICU and go home.”
Today Nina Centofanti has grown into an active 7-year-old who loves to dance, climb trees and turn handsprings. She has been named the March of Dimes 2013 National Ambassador. As ambassador, Nina and her family will travel the United States visiting public officials and corporate sponsors, and encouraging people to participate in the March of Dimes’ largest fundraiser, March for Babies. The money raised supports community programs that help moms have healthy, full term pregnancies, and funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies’ lives.
“Serving as the National Ambassador family is a way for us to show our appreciation for our children’s good health, and serve as advocates for lifesaving March of Dimes programs,” says Vince. “The March of Dimes has provided 75 years of support for research, treatments, educational and prenatal care programs that has saved lives, reduced the suffering, and improved the quality of life for countless children and the parents who love them. My daughter Nina is one of their success stories; a perfect example of what March of Dimes efforts have accomplished.”