Preemie Matters - June 2011

In this issue of Preemie Matters: Flu Shot During Pregnancy Associated with Reduced Prematurity Risk  •  Neonatologist Develops Non-Invasive Reflux Testing  •  Partner Spotlight: Hamilton County, Ohio's Efforts to Transform Maternal-Child Health  •  Report Looks at Social, Emotional Challenges for Preemie Parents

Flu Shot During Pregnancy Associated with Reduced Prematurity Risk

New research finds that flu shots during pregnancy are associated with reduced risk of preterm birth - especially during peak influenza season. US researchers - who examined data on nearly 4,200 Georgia births from 2004 to 2006 - found that pregnant women who received the vaccine and delivered during the flu season were 40 percent less likely to give birth prematurely. During the peak of the flu season the impact for flu-immunized moms was more dramatic, with 70% lower odds of a preemie birth. The American College of Gyneclogists and Obstetricians (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and March of Dimes all recommend that women get the flu shot during pregnancy. Yet, currently just 15 percent of pregnant women in the US are vaccinated against influenza.

Neonatologist Develops Non-Invasive Reflux Testing

A non-invasive approach to testing preemies for reflux may be just around the corner. Current detection methods - often involving a tube inserted into the esophagus through the nose - can be traumatic, but Michigan State University neonatologist Ira Gewolb is looking for a viable alternative, testing the prototype for a neonatal gastroesophageal reflux monitor based on a common engineering instrument. Dr. Gewold's instrument, which can be taped to an infant's chest, picks up low-frequency sound as reflux backs up from the stomach. More than half of all newborns suffer from some form of acid reflux, but preemies are especially susceptible - and often go home from the hospital with medications to treat the condition.

Partner Spotlight: Hamilton County, Ohio's Efforts to Prevent Prematurity

Hamilton County, Ohio's Office of Maternal and Infant Health - Infant Mortality Reduction was created by local officials to reduce the county's infant mortality to below the national average. The office works closely with March of Dimes and other healthcare and social service organizations to raise awareness of both the long- and short-term effects of prematurity and the risks for infant mortality. Their Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) team and Perinatal Community Action Team (PCAT) have brought major players - hospitals, human services, faith-based and education organizations - to the table to work together on a road map to change. With the expansion of CenteringPregnancy among three major prenatal care providers, research through a partnership with the University of Cincinnati and increased community awareness, this collaborative is making strides toward transforming health in Hamilton County.

Report Looks at Social, Emotional Challenges for Preemie Parents

A new report from online patient community looks at the social and emotional challenges facing parents of preterm babies - ranging from dealing with inappropriate and insensitive comments to increased rates of depression. Among the findings: More than half of preemie parents have experienced stressful, isolating comments about their infants. Approximately 20 percent of respondents said they have lost relationships with individuals who were important to them after giving birth to a preemie. The report also affirms research findings suggesting significant risk of postpartum depression (PPD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for women who give birth prematurely.

Gentler Form of Respiratory Support, Better Outcomes for Hospitalized Preemies

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston say guidelines that take a gentler form of respiratory support and reduce the use of mechanical ventilation can lead to better outcomes for preemie infants - while also reducing costs. The team, which recently published study findings in the journal Pediatrics, recommends five care guidelines that limit exposure to supplemental oxygen and encourage the use of a "bubble" continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) system. Preterm infants in their study treated with this approach were less likely to be intubated or to need mechanical ventilation, and needed fewer days of supplemental oxygen overall - in addition to fewer problems with BPD and low blood pressure.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB's disclaimer is available on our website.